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Researchers trained a quadruped robot to cross a balance beam

A four-legged, 90-kilogram robot can cross a bridge only six centimeters wide.
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia four-legged robot
IIT Dynamic Legged Systems
Christine Fisher
Christine Fisher|@cfisherwrites|July 3, 2020 6:00 PM

While four-legged robots can achieve impressive feats, like pulling an airplane or climbing a fence, they still have a few limitations. In most cases, they need a fairly large surface to walk on. A team of Italian robotics researchers is looking to change that. They’ve created a robotic controller that allows a quadruped robot to walk across a thin beam.

The four-legged robot can balance on just two legs and walk heel-toe. In digital simulations, the controller allowed a 90-kilogram robot to cross a bridge only six centimeters wide. In a video, the Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) researchers demonstrate how a robot equipped with the controller maintains balance on two feet even when it’s pushed around. The robot can even balance on two legs as it adjusts to different heights. The IIT team detailed their findings in a paper available on arXiv

In the US, Boston Dynamics’ Spot is arguably the most popular four-legged robot, but as researchers develop robotic controllers like IIT’s, we’ll likely see more quadruped applications.

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Researchers trained a quadruped robot to cross a balance beam