Humanoid robot balances like the “Karate Kid”

ATLAS, the humanoid robot with functioning limbs and hands, recently received from programming updates via a new algorithm from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), which enables it to walk like a human with more agility and control than ever before.

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ATLAS, the humanoid robot with functioning limbs and hands, recently received from programming updates via a new algorithm from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), which enables it to walk like a human with more agility and control than ever before.

Built by the Google-owned Boston Dynamics, with funding and oversight from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the robot features a head-mounted MultiSense-SL 3D data sensor package, which is comprised of a Hokuyo UTM-30LX-EW laser and a Carnegie Robotics MultiSense S7 stereo camera. The camera is fitted with either a 2 MPixel CMV2000 or 4 MPixel CMV4000 CMOS image sensor from CMOSIS. These sensors feature a Bayer color filter array and achieve a maximum frame rate of 30 fps.

MultiSense SL also features on-board processing for image rectification, stereo data processing, time synchronizing of laser data with a spindle encoder, spindle motor control, lighting timing, and managing the GigE interface. It also features an on-board real time control computer, and near human anthropometry with 28 hydraulically-actuated joints. The new algorithm developed by IHMC enables ATLAS to walk more like a human, and with more balance. IHMC recently had some success in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge, coming first in computer simulations and second in real-life field trials.

The ATLAS robot has four hydraulically-actuated limbs, blue LED illumination, and is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and titanium. Standing at 6 feet tall and weighing 330 pounds, the robot was designed for a variety of search and rescue missions. During DARPA’s Robotics Challenge, ATLAS “shell” robots (robots without a “brain”), were provided to six teams to test the robot's ability to perform various tasks, including getting in and out of a vehicle and driving it, opening a door, and using a power tool. The contest was inspired by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which represents a possible future scenario in which the ATLAS robot could be used

View an IHMC release.
View more information on ATLAS.
View more information on the MultiSense-SL.

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