The system developed by Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University in US also ensures that the resulting design is capable of moving as desired and not falling down; it even enables the user to alter the creature's gait as desired.
    
"Progress in rapid manufacturing technology is making it easier and easier to build customised robots, but designing a functioning robot remains a difficult challenge that requires an experienced engineer," said Markus Gross, vice president at Disney Research.
    
"Our new design system can bridge this gap and should be of great interest to technology enthusiasts and the maker community at large," said Gross.
    
"We aim to reinvent the way in which personal robotic devices are designed, fabricated, and customised according to the individual needs and preferences of their users," said Stelian Coros, a former Disney research scientist who is now an assistant professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon.
    
The user can load an initial, skeletal description of the robot and the system creates an initial geometry and places a motor at each joint position. The user can then edit the robot's structure, adding or
removing motors, or adjusting their position and orientation.
    
The system takes over much of the non-intuitive and tedious task of planning the motion of the robot. The user nonetheless is able to adjust the robot's footfall pattern and stylistic elements of its motion.
    
The researchers designed and built two four-legged robots using the design system and found that the overall motions of the prototypes were consistent with the behaviours predicted by their simulation.

 

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