Researchers at the University of Michigan
in the US have developed a biped robot called MABEL
, capable of walking without falling even when faced with improvised obstacles.
Most surprisingly, this 57 kg robot has no vision (no video camera) but only sensors (encoders) which measure the angles of joints and ground contact to detect potential obstacles.
Therefore, the robot can only react after coming into contact
with the objects in its path and so changes its position afterwards.
In the video below the researchers test it until it falls.
Mabel manages to cross a 2.5 inch (6.35 cm) tall slab before breaking its leg (but this is just a matter of sorting out the robustness).
Note that the robot already has lateral balancing as it rotates around an axis, at a fixed bar; but this doesn't detract at all from its performance.
We'll follow Mabel's progress.