Let’s Face It, for Robots, Falling Down Is Easy

But how do you teach them to land safely?

A little feline philosophy for you all today. Thankfully, real cats are much better teachers. Robots are pretty clumsy. They’re also crazy expensive. This is a really bad combination. To solve this problem (and save a lot of skinned robot knees) Dr. Karen Liu at Georgia Tech is looking to two examples of graceful fallers: Divers and cats. She presented her research at the 2014 IEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). But for the rest of us, here she is to explain her research:

Being able to quickly discern their orientation and twisting their bodies to compensate is a hallmark trait of cats—who famously always land on their feet. Destin over at Smarter Every Day dropped a bunch of cats in slow motion to show you exactly how they do it. For those of you at home, rather than dropping your cat, I recommend following the comic cat’s advice and just take a nap instead.

Robot Diver You've been down too long in the midnight sea...