Boston Dynamics, the famed manufacturer of the robots that will one day ascend past human intelligence and install themselves as our metallic overlords, released the latest version of its bipedal Atlas robot earlier this year. And now, the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IMHC) has upgraded Atlas even further, with a new control algorithm that solves one of the Atlas’ biggest issues: walking on uneven terrain.
The new algorithm allows the robot to maintain its balance as it walks over the scattered cinder blocks by dynamically testing the terrain and adjusting its foot position and weight distribution to avoid falling, just like real, live humans do.
It’s fascinating technology, if a little unsettling to see the robot gingerly pick its way across the blocks. It even shifts and sways like a person! And while the Atlas is still slow at processing the balance of the terrain, it could only be a matter of time before it can walk or even run on any kind of non-level surface.