If there’s one thing that can be said about Boston Dynamics, it’s that they never cease to amaze us with the capabilities of their robotic creations. “BigDog” has been the topic of past posts here and this one may be the most awesome capability yet.
Maintaining balance is one of the biggest challenges facing legged-robot designers. It seems easy for us and other animals to walk, climb, and jump because the portion of our mind that controls this is mostly subconscious. We don’t have to think, “left foot forward, balance on it, lift right leg, move it forward…” It just happens. In robotics, each movement is a calculation, each obstacle is a further set of calculations, each result from those further calculations is a reassessment and even more calculations, et cetera.
When other things are added to the mix such as the act of tossing a cinder block, most robots would fail miserably. BigDog, of course. does not.