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Easy Striders

New humanoids with efficient gaits change the robotics landscape

Before it moves, the robot doesn't look like much. A rickety bundle of metal plates and rods standing on two thin legs, it resembles a science fair project more than it does a major advance in technology. Only two small motors, some simple wiring at its hip, and two batteries weigh it down. Then, with a slight push off one heel, the robot steps forward and ambles along with a remarkably human gait.

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