Robot carries off awards and human payloads

Student project develops bipedal robot to help disabled

Downtown Tokyo played host last weekend to dozens of the most advanced Japanese automata at the Robot & Science Forum in the Machine and Industry Memorial Hall, which, thankfully, is also known as TEPIA .

Among the exhibits were some familiar faces, including NEC's PaPeRo and Kondo's KHR-2HV , but the informal best-in-show rosette went, according to Robot Watch , to a bipedal robot chair from a group of students.

Takes stairs in its stride

Waseda University's WL-16IV is intended as a disability aid and can carry a 94kg person across difficult terrain, including - as the WMV video linked here shows - up and down stairs.

Each leg on the robot, which was jointly developed with TMSUK , is made of six hydraulic 'bones' that are controlled by an onboard computer that is itself commanded via a Wi-Fi link. The university reckons commercialisation as an entertainment robot is likely before any real-world healthcare applications are realised.

As for the student pictured riding the WL-16IV, we have only one thing to say, "Get your 'air cut, son."