Robot Masters Human Balancing Act
When walking in a crowded place, humans typically aren’t thinking about how we avoid bumping into one another. We are built to use a gamut of complex skill sets required to execute these types of seemingly simple motions.
Now, thanks to researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, robots may soon be able to experience similar functionality. Luis Sentis, associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and his team in the Human Centered Robotics Laboratory have successfully demonstrated a novel approach to human-like balance in a biped robot.
Their approach has implications for robots that are used in everything from emergency response to defence to entertainment. The team will present their work this week at the 2018 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS2018), the flagship conference in the field of robotics.
By translating a key human physical dynamic skill — maintaining whole-body balance — into a mathematical equation, the team was able to use the numerical formula to program their robot Mercury, which was built and tested over the course of six years.
This is just an example of where the work with our new STEAM Ability Topic 2 extension kits can lead to.