Why are robot tumbles comedy gold? Unlike humans, they make no effort to protect themselves, resulting in flailing, extra hard falls (bottom). But the high-g impacts are hell on the extremely expensive, often one-of-a-kind machines, so researchers from Georgia tech developed algorithms to give them some sense of self-preservation. They made them copy exactly what we do instinctively -- stick out a limb to break the fall. "(That way), every time you make contact with the ground, some of the energy is dissipated," said Georgia Tech professor Karen Liu.