Robot Staggers, But Is Still Standing

Sarcos has been making its robots harder to knock over. I'm a little concerned; I thought I could overcome the inevitable robot uprising by simply shoving them over.


(SARCOS robot stands on his own two feet, even under duress)

The robot shown in the video was created by Sarcos (a US firm); the software to help it stay upright was developed in Japan by researcers at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.

The ability to "rebalance" itself should give robots additional abilities to move with human beings in crowds, by helping the bot overcome the usual jostling in queues, elevators and sidewalks.

The software makes use of sensors located in the joints of the robot; as the center of mass of the robot is affected, the software calculates how much additional effort is required to stay upright. The force is exerted through the robot's feet into the ground; the ankles flex to maintain balance (just like yours do).

A really hard shove results in "staggering," which is another word for repeated stabilization efforts.

Robot enthusiasts might also remember that the cool BigDog robot is also able to resist a good swift kick in the hindquarters, rebalancing itself and moving forward smartly. You can see the researcher test the robot about thirty seconds into the video.


(BigDog robot remains standing even when kicked)

Update 09-Dec-2007: Several readers suggested Malfunctioning Eddie as a possible candidate for an sfnal match for this robot.


(Malfunctioning Eddie from Futurama)

Malfunctioning Eddie is also an excellent example of a real-life sales robot. Thanks to Eric Nodacker for sending in the picture. End update.

Via Flexible-jointed robot is no pushover.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/7/2007)

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