Mimicking the many distinct balancing adjustments standing humans make when unexpectedly shoved, or while encountering shifting terrain (such as on a boat or moving train) is a skill that most robots haven’t mastered. Nevertheless, one lab in Italy has created a humanoid robot that comes very close to matching our skill at avoiding taking a spill. (Video)
Developed by the Department of Advanced Robotics at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, theCompliant Humanoid COMAN is a project designed to increase joint flexibility and overall stability for humanoid robots. Modeled after a small child, the robot uses an array of elastic actuators in conjunction with torque sensors to maintain the same kind of stabilization and balance control that you would see displayed by a real person.
Although other robotics labs have developed similar stabilization methods, the COMAN is reportedly the first such robot to feature a full set of limbs. You can see the COMAN being put through its paces in the video below.