The Disney “Stickman” robot has been recorded doing a backflip in a video that is both humorous and incredibly impressive.
While we’re a long way from robots dominating the world, there are several companies that are making great strides towards producing robots that can do what we do with similar proficiency – and perhaps even better. While some are concerned about these robotic intelligences overthrowing human society, we probably don’t have to worry about that from the Disney Stickman robot.
Named Stickman considering it is a literal robot stick, this neat little robot can do a full backflip manuever, In the video included below, the Disney Stickman robot swings from a ceiling-mounted wire 19.6 feet above the ground, tucks into a ball at peak height, and performs the stunt with pretty impressive effectiveness.
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The Disney Stickman robot, when stretched out, measures around seven feet tall. As the Disney Research Paper describes it, the robot is designed “to approximate the height of a human stunt performer with arms raised over his or her head.” While gymnasts are obviously nowhere near seven feet tall, it’s clear that Stickman was inspired by human physics.
In order to accomplish these backflips, the Disney Stickman robot uses Inertial motion sensing, a trio of laser range fingers, and computer vision in order to both execute the stunts as well as to ensure safety by landing on a map.
The video of the Disney Stickman successfully backflipping (and also failing at an attempt) is included below.
While we’re still a long way off from robots that can function with the same sort of efficiency as the human body in its entirety, it’s cool to see even impressive athletic feats being accomplished by robotic sticks with shocking similarity to our own performance.
While Disney Stickman robot is the latest to attempt a backflip, it’s not the only robot to do so. Boston Dynamics has a humanoid robot that successfully performed a backflip last year, but it somehow seems a little more exciting that a literal robotic stick was able to do the same.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the field of robotics continues to develop towards a future with robots that can function on an equal or better level than ourselves. It’s important that we keep this sort of intelligence and functioning in check in order to make sure we aren’t the cause of our own downfall, but many lives could be greatly improved through automation or other assistance from robot friends.
The Disney Stickman Robot doesn’t really have any immediate applications, but it does represent a furthering of our understanding when it comes to developing robots that are capable of human dexterity – a boon for researchers working to develop technology that is more and more lifelike.