Most debuts would have been thought through and through so that nothing untoward happens, but sometimes, even the best preparations made cannot sniff out an impending disaster. I guess with the Atlas robot that we first mentioned about sometime in the middle of this year, its debut at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) proved to be less than stellar – especially when it broke its ankle during a demonstration.
This robot is no ballet dancer by any means, since it tips the scales at a whopping 150kg, standing tall at 1.9 meters, while costing HK$15 million in the process. That amount of money would buy you what is deemed to be the most advanced humanoid robot at this point in time, and the HKU so happens to be the first institution outside the United States to own one. A short tai chi routine went as expected, but shortly afterwards, it lost its balance and fell, breaking its right ankle in the process. Not exactly the most auspicious of beginnings, but better have it screw up during a demonstration than when it is already on the field without living up to expectations, right? Hopefully the folks at DARPA would be able to fix things in due time.