Azumi Maekawa (JP), Shunji Yamanaka (JP)


Prototype for exploring new experiences with physical biped robots

The movement of robots with legs is highly restricted by gravity. The shape of a robot’s body determines its possible walking gait. Therefore, it is difficult to combine arbitrary body design and a dynamic walking motion like that of a living thing in a robot with legs.

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Aerial-Biped is a prototype for exploring a new experience with a physical biped robot. In this work using a quadrotor, we aim to separate the body shape and motion design. Releasing the biped robot from gravity can relax the limitation of the robot’s physical motion. The motion of Aerial-Biped is created in real time according to the movement of the quadrotor. The motion generator is trained with reinforcement learning. We can observe the emergence of various gaits based on the successively changing quadrotor’s movements.

Aerial-Biped / Azumi Maekawa, Shunji Yamanaka (JP), Credit: Azumi Maekawa, Shunji Yamanaka


Azumi Maekawa (JP) was born in 1992. He is currently a PhD student at the Information Somatics Laboratory, University of Tokyo. His research interests are in the areas of robotics, machine learning, design, digital fabrication, and human-robot interaction. The focus of his current work is motion of physical bodies.

Shunji Yamanaka (JP) is a professor at the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo. After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1982, he worked at Nissan Motor Design Center. In 1987 he became an independent freelance designer. From 1991 to 1994, he joined the University of Tokyo as Associate Professor and in 1994, established Leading Edge Design. In 2008, he joined Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance as a professor. In 2013, he rejoined the University of Tokyo.