Many mobile robots do a pretty good job of keeping their balance on the go, but like humans, they’re still prone to losing their feet from time to time. While this bodes well for outrunning them during the upcoming robopocalypse, until then, it mostly means more potential for expensive repairs and time-consuming maintenance. As first introduced and highlighted earlier this year interaction At least a few robots could be saved from somersaults in the near future, thanks to the advances of researchers at France’s University of Lorraine, Wednesday.
[Related: The Boston Dynamics robots are surprisingly good dancers.]
through share After trial and error (reported to have over 882,000 training simulations), the developers designed a new “Damage Reflex” system for humanoid robot subjects. When enabled, the robot’s neural network quickly determines the best spot on a nearby wall to support itself if its stability is compromised. Judging by the trailer below, maybe it’s not “when” as much as “if”.
Aspect interaction He explains, the testing procedure sounds pretty simple, though a little creepy: To showcase the Damage Reflex system in action, a leg was “broken” to ensure the robot was tipped against a nearby test wall. In roughly three of the four examples, the machine’s arm was able to pinpoint a solid point to lean against to avoid falling into its own fate. This is pretty good considering all the physics variations regarding position, balance, weight and distribution that go into determining how to prevent an accident in real time.
[Related: Boston Dynamics gave its dog-like robot a charging dock and an arm on its head.]
There are quite a few caveats to the early iteration of the Damage Reflex system: First, it only prevents a bot from falling; cannot help him recover or correct himself. Currently, it has also only been tested on a stationary test robot, meaning the system cannot currently handle accidents that may occur while walking or mid-stepping. However, the researchers plan to improve their system further so it can also handle machines in motion and use nearby objects like chairs or tables to their advantage.
Companies like Tesla and Boston Dynamics are keen to bring bipedal robots into everyday life; this is a truly realistic target only as long as their products are relatively affordable both to purchase and to maintain. While systems like Damage Reflex are still in their infancy, they could soon go a long way in both protecting robots and extending their lifespan.