The News Today
__
7.20.19
Game On

Watch This Hulking Robot Play “The Floor Is Lava”

May 6th 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Robots & Machines
IHMC Robotics

Plank Walk

On Friday, IHMC Robotics unveiled a new video in which a humanoid robot named Atlas gingerly — and autonomously — walks across various objects, including suspended wooden planks and wobbly cinder blocks.

It basically looks like someone challenged the robot to play “the floor is lava” with the leftover supplies from a construction site, and the bot is surprisingly good at the game — putting it a step closer to one day filling in for humans on dangerous missions.

Step Ahead

Boston Dynamics built Atlas, but IHMC Robotics wrote the algorithms giving the bot the dexterity demonstrated in the video.

In the description posted along with the clip, the company says the humanoid relies on LIDAR to build a map of the area it’s supposed to traverse, and then uses an algorithm to determine each step it should take to reach the other side.

Currently Atlas is successful with about half of its attempts, according to IHMC, but the company is already working to increase that rate by improving the robot’s balance and the range of motion in its joints.

If IHMC can pull it off, Atlas might one day do far more than dominate at sleepover games — the goal is for the robot to serve as an avatar for humans in dangerous emergency scenarios or even as they explore Mars.

READ MORE: IHMC Atlas Autonomous Path Planning Across Narrow Terrain [YouTube]

More on Atlas: The Boston Dynamics Robot Atlas Is Now a Parkour Master