We continue to see incredible advancements in robots. Thanks to the Internet, these are on display for the world to see in ways not possible in the past.
Aldebaran Robotics has a new video out for its NAO robot showing off what it can do:
Here are some of the key features, as the company has diagrammed:
The company explains the robot's motion:
NAO's walking uses a simple dynamic model (linear inverse pendulum) and quadratic programming. It is stabilized using feedback from joint sensors. This makes walking robust and resistant to small disturbances, and torso oscillations in the frontal and lateral planes are absorbed. NAO can walk on a variety of floor surfaces, such as carpeted, tiled, and wooden floors. NAO can transition between these surfaces while walking.
NAO's motion module is based on generalized inverse kinematics, which handles Cartesian coordinates, joint control, balance, redundancy, and task priority. This means that when asking NAO to extend its arm, it bends over because its arms and leg joints are taken into account. NAO will stop its movement to maintain balance.
The Fall Manager protects NAO when it falls. Its main function is to detect when NAO's center of mass (CoM) shifts outside the support polygon. The support polygon is determined by the position of the foot or feet in contact with the ground. When a fall is detected, all motion tasks are killed and, depending on the direction, NAO's arms assume protective positioning, the CoM is lowered, and robot stiffness is reduced to zero.
We may be getting closer to the nightmarish robot future depicted below: