Every chance we get, we post videos highlighting the adventures of MARLO, the University of Michigan’s blissfully unaware bipedal robot. MARLO is totally “blind,” without cameras, lidar, or anything else to show it where it’s going. But the robot is still able to walk dynamically over a range of terrain that I think would be appropriate to call staggering. Varied terrain does indeed stagger MARLO on a regular basis, and it’s probably fallen over more times on video than any robot we’ve ever seen.
Professor Jessy Grizzle and his students have been challenging MARLO with increasingly difficult terrain, most recently at a location on the beautiful Ann Arbor campus called the “Wave Field,” an “earth sculpture” created by artist Maya Lin. A new video posted today shows off MARLO’s latest exploits, and we talked with Grizzle about why a robot that falls over all the time is the key to efficient dynamic humanoid walking.