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IPFS News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Robot Dog Learns to Walk in an Hour After Scientists Build "virtual spinal cord"

•, By Study Finds

Researchers in Germany say the canine creation, called Morti, learns to walk quickly because it makes good use of its virtual spinal cord.

The German team built the fast-learning four-legged friend in a bid to find out more about how animals in nature learn to walk. Animals are born with muscle coordination networks in their spinal cord but learning precisely how to use their leg muscles and tendons can take time.

Baby animals begin their lives relying on hard-wired spinal cord reflexes. More basic motor control reflexes also help the animal avoid falling and hurting themselves during their first attempts at walking.

Animals must then practice more advanced and precise muscle control until the nervous system adapts to the young creature's leg muscles and tendons.

"As engineers and roboticists, we sought the answer by building a robot that features reflexes just like an animal and learns from mistakes," says study first author Felix Ruppert from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart in a media release.