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Robot skis downhill, slaloms into your heart

Bojan Nemec of the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia is designing a relatively large robot that can ski downhill and even slalom around racing gates.

Researchers from Slovenia are developing a skiing robot that can not only carve up the snow; it can slalom around racing gates.

Bojan Nemec of the Jozef Stefan Institute recently told an audience at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems that the robot is designed to ski downhill autonomously using ordinary skis. It can avoid obstacles and identify the gates to plan its path.

Shown in the 2008 video below, the robot can slowly maneuver its way around the gates without toppling over, though a separate blooper reel depicts it wiping out.

The machine only has three degrees of freedom. It relies on GPS, cameras, gyros, and force sensors to remain stable and gauge speed and trajectory. The data is processed by computers in the upper and lower parts of the robot.

Why build a robot skier? Nemec said it could be used to test skiing equipment or modeling virtual-reality skiing applications.

The machine won't be giving human skiers a run for their money anytime soon, he added.

(Via IEEE Spectrum)