An Upgrade to the Atlas Humanoid Robot Allows It to Walk Over Partial Footholds

Researchers at the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition have programmed the Atlas humanoid robot to walk over partial footholds using a new balancing algorithm. The improved balance lets the Boston Dynamics robot balance on edges that only make contact with part of its feet. In simulation, the robot can also take quick steps over footholds that only make a single point of contact.

The Atlas Humanoid walking over small and partial footholds such as small stepping stones or line contacts. After each step the robot explores the new foothold by shifting its weight around its foot. To maintain balance we combine fast, dynamics stepping with the use of angular momentum (lunging of the upper body). The control algorithm was developed at IHMC, the robot was build by Boston Dynamics.