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This robot taught itself how to walk and it’s as clumsy as a newborn deer

dyret robot learns to walk outside snow
University of Oslo

Watching machine learning take place in real time can be a pretty astonishing experience. Like seeing a kid growing up, only compressed into a shorter time frame, you get to witness early failed attempts gradually give way to competency and, eventually, a high level of skill. That is thanks to the way such systems learn, based on trial and error as they try and achieve a specific goal. For the latest example of that, look no further than DyRET (Dynamic Robot for Embodied Testing) the robot. Created by researchers at Norway’s University of Oslo, it’s a quadruped robot — reminiscent of Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robots — which uses evolutionary algorithms to figure out efficient locomotion. In other words, unlike Boston Dynamics’ robots, DyRET learns to walk on its own.

The results are like that famous walking scene from Disney’s Bambi with some high-end robotics thrown in for good measure!

“DyRET is a four-legged mammal-inspired robot platform I’ve been making as part of my Ph.D.,” Tonnes Nygaard, a robotics researcher with the Engineering Predictability With Embodied Cognition project, told Digital Trends. “What makes this robot different from other robots is that the robot itself can modify the length of the legs while operating. Robots are used in more and more complex and changing environments, and being able to do this gives the robot the unique ability to adapt not only the way it is walking or acting, but the body of the robot as well.”