Biped Robots Compared

Watch Dexter, Anybots, Inc.‘s self-balancing robot. Then watch the video of Honda’s Asimo robot walking and then falling down while attempting to climb stairs (I know they’ve had successful stair-climbing demonstrations since). Quite a contrast, isn’t it? Dexter’s walk looks like a human walk, a pretty feeble human, but a human walk. The Asimo robot’s walk looks like a souped up robot’s walk.

Both robots have their advantages. I’d like to see Dexter get the ability run off battery power. It would also be interesting to see other combinations of the two types of robots. But I will always remember Dexter as he is right now when I think back to the day that I first saw a self-balancing biped robot.

Dynamically Balancing Biped Robot

Valentine’s Day was fairly uneventful for me this year, but humankind made significant progress that day. Trevor Blackwell, a very smart man and a friend of Paul Graham, got his robot, Dexter, to walk with dynamic balancing.

The video is one of the most amazing things I’ve watched in my life. It was like the first time I saw a video of Apollo 11 lifting off. Its heroic effort to walk like a human walks, and to stay up on two feet, is amazing to see. I can see Trevor Blackwell’s effort in the robot’s movement. It looks like the robot is feeling the moment.

It’s a must-see.

Trevor’s creation is at Anybots, Inc., a company he founded that develops robot software. They have a website, and they’re hiring. A requirement in the “Join Our Team” page is hubris — one of the three great virtues of programming.