This Bipedal Robot Walks Calmly Over Uneven Ground

Several small steps for machines

MARLO Robot Standing Free

MARLO Robot Standing Free

Look ma, no tethers.Evan Dougherty, Michigan Engineering

Walking is hard. While humans usually figure out how to do it within the first year of life, we are plagued with errors throughout our lifespan, and we are creatures innately made to walk. At the University of Michigan, researchers spent years working on MABEL, a bipedal robot that can walk forwards and backwards. Their new robot, MARLO, builds on that experience, with algorithms that help it shamble over uneven ground

The main controller handles the forward and backward motion and balance, while a second controller handles side-to-side balance. [Doctoral student Xingye] Da created a library of 15 gaits to handle different walking speeds and ground heights. Each gait is optimized for energy efficiency—making the movement as natural as possible—and respects the constraints of the robot. Armed with this knowledge, MARLO steps blindly, sensing the changes in ground height and adjusting her gait according to terrain and speed. She blends gaits from the library to fit her environment.

Watch it in action below: