Boston Dynamics designed its ATLAS humanoid robot help during a variety of search and rescue tasks. To do that, of course, ATLAS needs to be able to walk on all sorts of terrain.
An impressive new video from the Institute For Human And Machine Cognition (IHMC) shows ATLAS doing just that, walking over partial footholds using a new balancing algorithm.
IHMC explains: “After each step the robot explores the new foothold by shifting its weight around its foot. To maintain balance we combine fast, dynamics stepping with the use of angular momentum (lunging of the upper body).”
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IHMC’s demo is even more impressive because ATLAS had no prior knowledge of the terrain it had to walk over. This isn’t a pre-programmed demo as we often see in the robotics world.
We’ve seen ATLAS walk over cinder blocks before, but there were no partial footholds involved.