A walking robot is providing new insight into improving prosthetics.
"Denise" is a Dutch-created robot based on a toy concept patented in the 80's. The problem with the toy was it could only walk downhill, because it sort of fell forward. But thanks to new design innovations, Denise can now go uphill too. It's called passive-dynamic walking, and the legs swing much like a pendulum, which researchers say is actually closer to how humans walk.
"If we understand walking better, then it gives you a tool for understanding how to make better prosthetics for people missing legs, or for people with damaged legs, or damaged muscles, or damaged neural muscular control," said Andy Ruina, Cornell University
Denise is one of a family of three passive-dynamic walking robots. The other two were created at Cornell University and MIT.