Balance is a tricky thing for robots. Even Boston Dynamics has trouble keeping them on two or all four feet. That’s why is so surprising seeing a humanoid not only move gracefully in public, but actually taunting all other with tai chi moves #machinemagic
iCub from the Dynamic Interaction Control Lab at the Italian Institute of Technology is clearly showing off in a recent YouTube clip. It moves deliberately in a dynamic physical exercise, similar to tai chi, without wobbling in the least. This incredible performance was achieved by the team behind iCub through a careful calibration of the robot and its surrounding environment.
The control architecture is composed of two nested control loops. The internal loop, which runs at 1 KHz, is in charge of stabilizing any desired joint torque. The control objective for the outer loop is the stabilization of the robot’s linear and angular momentum and the associated zero dynamics. Basically, the contact forces and torques at the contacts are regulated so as to break the contact only at desired configurations.
By combining these factor, engineers have managed to make us seem clumsy in the presence of this little guy.