Boston Dynamics’ upright-and-walking-on-two-legs Atlas robot is a slightly terrifying while simultaneously an amazing piece of technology. But during its initial demos the DARPA-funded automaton needed a clear and fairly even path to walk. Now thanks to researchers at the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IMHC), Atlas is ready to go almost everywhere. Just very very slowly.
The researchers at the institute created a new algorithm for Atlas that helps the robot maintain its balance while navigating difficult terrain like the angled cinder blocks in the video. IMHC notes that it employed “fast, dynamics stepping with the use of angular momentum (lunging of the upper body)” to achieve the feat.
But as the video shows, Atlas isn’t exactly sprinting over those blocks. But thanks to the research and new algorithm eventually Atlas–or other giant and slightly scary robot–will be able to navigate into areas that are unsafe for humans without fear that they’ll just fall over if they steps on a rock wrong.