If you are still hugely impressed by the Asimo robot from Honda or the PETMAN project that seemingly cannot be toppled over no matter how hard of a kick you give it, then you might wonder whether the former is able to walk through miles of sand, just like one of Anakin’s first few major creations, C3PO. After all, to make sure a humanoid robot knows how to balance itself is already pretty tough work, so to have it precariously maintain its balance as it attempts to trek across dune after dune in the arid desert might just be asking for too much, especially when the robot’s balancing system already assumes the next step as being on a hard surface, while information from the accelerometers say otherwise.

Just like how every problem has a solution, so to, do the brilliant engineers over at Japan’s Tohoku University in Sendai that is led by Shunsuke Komizunai. Deepening their knowledge on how balancing systems work in order to compensate for sand’s unusual characteristics, they came up with a human-sized robot model that will “tread” through a box filled with sand, in order to come up with a new software that is capable of adjusting itself to enable walking on sand or loose soil surfaces.

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