While it lacks the subtle charm of Alberto Tomba, this robot is just as much at ease flying down a slalom course. Designed by Bojan Nemec of the the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia, the robot utilizes two computers to stay upright and pointed downhill.
The upper part of the robot contains a USB camera, a GPS system and the computer that processes the information from those sources to keep the robot heading in the right direction. The lower portion of the robot contains a computer that controls the legs, and the gyroscope that keeps the robot balanced.
Nemec created the robot to test ski equipment, and to help model virtual reality skiing simulations. So far, Picabo Street can rest easy, as the robot can't even ski in a straight line. In fact, Nemec doesn't think the robot will beat a human in the next five years.
To further assuage your fears of a metal athlete taking home the gold at the Winter Olympics, here's a blooper reel that proves something falling down on a ski slope is always funny, whether it be man or machine.
[via IEEE Spectrum]
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.