How Atlas humanoid robot runs | Robert Playter and Lex Fridman | Summary and Q&A

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May 4, 2023
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Lex Clips
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How Atlas humanoid robot runs | Robert Playter and Lex Fridman

TL;DR

Developing natural-looking walking motion for humanoid robot Atlas has been a challenging process that took around 15 years.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How difficult was it to develop natural-looking walking for humanoid robot Atlas?

Developing natural-looking walking for Atlas was a challenging process that took around 15 years. The team had to experiment with different control algorithms and techniques to achieve a more natural motion.

Q: What were some challenges in developing good walking motion for Atlas?

One of the main challenges was dealing with mathematical singularities that occurred when the leg was fully extended. Simplified models used in the early stages didn't fully capture the complexity of the leg motion. However, recent advancements allowed for considering the full physics of the robot and addressing these challenges.

Q: Is the underactuated nature of the robot a problem for achieving natural movement?

Underactuation, the inability to push the robot in any direction, presents a challenge for natural movement. Humanoids rely on mediating external forces through their feet. The lack of a gravity force that can be harnessed for movement adds complexity to achieving natural motion.

Q: Does the size of the Atlas robot present additional challenges?

The humanoid form of Atlas, with its big upper body and heavy legs, poses challenges in maintaining balance and dealing with inertia. The interaction between the heavy legs and the rest of the body complicates the motion control, especially when picking up objects.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Developing natural-looking walking motion for humanoid robot Atlas was a difficult task that took several years to achieve.

  • The early prototype, Petman, had a nice-looking gait but still had issues with fully extending the leg and landing properly.

  • It wasn't until the development of the newer generation of Atlas that a more natural walking motion was achieved through different control algorithms.

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