After getting its Boston Dynamic Atlas robot to perform a brief balancing act on a thin strip of ply earlier this year, the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) has loaded up a new algorithm that allows the bipedal bot to traverse tricky terrain.
The IHMC's Atlas team says that the new control algorithm allows the humanoid robot to ensure a solid foothold by shifting the weight of its outstretched foot to determine optimum balance. When steady footing is achieved, Atlas then does a quick step onto the next position, quickly heaving up its torso and moving its other leg forward.
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The researchers say that Atlas doesn't need to know what sort of terrain is coming up next, and is capable of maintaining balance even when its foot is placed on thin contact points, such as building blocks set at an angle.
The video below shows the robot's steady progress across a brick-strewn divide.