When the ATLAS robot was unveiled, there were many folks who balked at the robot’s uneasy stumbling around its environment, trying to navigate simple obstacles.
Things have come a long way in a short time. ATLAS has quickly adapted to its environment and now is far more capable that it was in its early days. I speak of this time as though it was aeons ago, when in fact it was only a little over a year later.
In this video we see IHMC Robotics performing an easy manoeuvre with the ATLAS robot. The programmers have sent a simple footstep plan to the humanoid. The ATLAS robot uses onboard sensors and artificial balance to be able to repeatedly climb up and down a small pile of cinderblocks, without losing balance or falling over in its attempt.
This task is relatively simple and even a toddler would be able to handle it. It has been estimated by some that ATLAS is approximately on the same development cycle. I’m sorry, but that comparison is rather weak, I feel. One of my children is in toddlerhood and I think that the human body is infinitely more advanced than a robot, so personally I don’t see the comparison at all. Now, if you pitted my daughter against ATLAS in a cinderblock throwing competition, then ATLAS would obviously win hands down. It is still no comparison, but it’d be rather fun to watch.
As always, if you would like to leave a sensible comment, then please do so in the comments section below.
[Image via drc.mit.edu]