Figure, a company that initially showcased renders of its proposed general-purpose humanoid robot, has made significant progress in a short span of time. They have unveiled Figure 01, a humanoid robot that has gone from concept to dynamic walking within a year. The robot demonstrates dynamic walking without a tether and showcases the challenges associated with it. Dynamic walking requires that the robot maintain momentum to keep itself in motion, which is more akin to human walking and significantly more challenging than a traditional robotic walk. This type of walking allows for the gentle arm swings that contribute to the robot’s smooth and balanced motion.
Moreover, the robot is notably slim and sleek, matching the initial design renders, which is a positive development. The slim design offers human-robot interaction benefits and leads to a more efficient, cost-effective, and safe robot due to reduced mass.
The teaching process for getting the robot to walk was carried out meticulously with a focus on validating the hardware as it was built. The team built up the robot from the pelvis, adding joints and limbs at each stage while ensuring a rigorous validation process. They drew on prior legged robotic platform experience and existing literature on locomotion. The walking algorithm used is well-established and doesn’t rely on machine learning for control.
Figure’s rapid progress in developing a dynamically walking humanoid robot showcases the potential for more advanced and capable robots in the near future. The combination of dynamic walking and a slim design holds promise for various applications, particularly in human-robot interaction contexts.