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Robotics Science Technology

Balancing Robot Can Take a Kicking 207

Posted by Zonk
from the soon-they'll-be-doing-judo dept.
BotKicker writes "A Japanese team has created the first full-size humanoid robot that won't fall over if you push it. A video shows it staggering and regaining balance after blows from a researcher. Being able to withstand shoves and kicks is essential if robots are to truly be our buddies, they reckon. 'The robot's balancing ability depends on its joints. For one thing they are never kept rigid, even when standing still, meaning they yield slightly when the robot is pushed. Force sensors within each joint also work out the position and velocity of the robot's centre mass as it moves around. Control software rapidly figures out what forces the robot's feet need to exert on the ground to bring it back into balance, and tells the joints how to act.'"
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Balancing Robot Can Take a Kicking

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  • by merreborn (853723) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:34PM (#21602617) Journal
    Sometimes, staggering backwards is the wrong choice.

    For example, you're standing on the sidewalk with your back to traffic. Someone bumps into you. You will do everything in your power *not* to stagger backwards in this situation -- you might reach out to grab something solid, like a signpost, a trash can, or the hand of someone with a body mass comparable or greater than your own. But you wouldn't reach for the hand of a child -- you'd just end up pulling them into the street with you.

    You've got a split second to make this choice, as well. Make it wrong, and you may die, or even take someone else with you.
  • Re:Been done (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:42PM (#21602757)
    Yeah, I saw that, too, and nothing about it since. IIRC it was hopping with the one leg, but the top platform stayed fairly steady. They would bump it and the foot would just adjust as it hopped. It wasn't small, but it definitely had a good sense of balance.
  • Re:Been done (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Steve Newall (24926) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:07PM (#21603241)
    There's also Dexter http://anybots.com/dexterwalks.html [anybots.com] that seems to resist a good poke. Dexter can also jump without falling over.
  • by mritunjai (518932) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:56PM (#21605077) Homepage
    Among all jokes, it seems that the most interesting part has been missed.

    Half way through the movie, the robot is pushed through its left side. It eerily performs an extremely human like side-stepping movement to rebalance itself.

    I have been replaying the sequence over and over again for last 15 minutes, it's the most un-fuckin'-believable amazing foot movement I've seen in bi-pedal robots!!!

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments