In Brief
A new video was just released of Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot balancing on a piece of wood. Just like a regular human, you can watch it shift, shake, and move to stay on the beam, thanks to a control algorithm by IHMC.

One of the primary challenges with bigger robots is making them move without falling over. Big, human-sized robots either can’t walk at all, or they walk like a one-legged man having a seizure. Balance, stability, grace—these are the things we have yet to see in a humanoid robot.

Now, we may finally have a contender. Boston Dynamics has been working on the Atlas robot, and new work from IHMC shows that it can balance on a piece of wood as well as any person can.

In the video, we can see Atlas balancing on a thin piece of wood for thirty seconds. But its not just the balancing part that’s awesome—its seeing a robot move, shift its weight, and react like an actual person.

Notably, its original specs were meant to make it humanoid. It has a height of approximately 1.8 meters (6 feet) and a weight of 150 kg (330 pounds). It’s also fairly robust—it’s made of aircraft-grade titanium and aluminum with blue LED lights mounted inside its chest.

Remarkably, its reaction when it finally loses to gravity even mimics how a person would when taking a tumble, twisting its torso in the opposite direction.