A SOPHISTICATED robot that can keep its balance while running and jumping might one day be used by rescue teams in dangerous disaster zones.
The machine moves in sync with its human remote controller and has been hailed as a breakthrough in robotic engineering.
To test the technology, an operator wore a high-tech vest transmitting motion data to the robot and it moved accordingly.
The vest also enables the controller to feel when the robot is tipping over and make adjustments to rebalance both at the same time.
Dubbed Little Hermes, the machine was able to demonstrate how it can walk and jump in a process known as “balance feedback”.
Researchers say it could one day take over physically demanding tasks from humans, or be used in disasters in areas inaccessible to human responders.
Joao Ramos, assistant professor at the US’s University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-creator of the robot, said: “If you want to open a heavy door, the human can command the robot to throw its body at the door and push it open, without losing balance.”
It was developed by engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Little Hermes currently consists of just a lower torso and legs.
But the engineers said they eventually hope to create a full-body humanoid robot.
They believe this would be capable of moving through areas inaccessible to humans.