Humanoids have a natural problem not of walking or staying upright but of walking “naturally.” Because walking isn’t one of their major skills, having a natural stride can be a problem. That’s why Swiss researchers thought of a better way to improve how these robots walk.
The Swiss researchers at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)‘s Biorobotics Laboratory are working on COMAN. A COMAN or a Compliant Humanoid is a headless robot created to be a master at walking (naturally.)
According to Engadget, it has a self-aware automation system that allows it to move more gracefully. It moves this way through more flexible and elastic joints. The plus is that it has a control algorithm which makes the bot understand their body and move naturally.
COMAN is aware of the symmetries in its dynamics and structure, which helps it not only walk with a natural gait but carry objects, navigate uneven surfaces like stairs, and react to surprises. If you push the robot, for instance, it knows exactly where to place its foot so that it doesn’t tip over like some of its peers. And thanks to that added flexibility, it’s more likely to survive that rudeness. (Engadget)
On the other hand, Boston Dynamics is slowly developing a humanoid that has the ability to balance on one foot. We also know that a robot balancing is a rare view and a hard thing to do because robots have problems with staying upright.
IHMC Robotics posted a video about Atlas, the humanoid balancing on a line contact. Although IHMC admits that it was just a lucky run.
We are still on a long way to having conversations with humanoids, but this development is definitely one to watch.
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