Cassie Cal robot can probably ride hovershoes better than you
It's comforting to know that even robots need training wheels.
Shelby BrownEditor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
The skates are pretty hard to operate, even for a human. In addition to balancing, you control the skates by leaning forward, backward, left and right. The researchers added a sensor to Cassie to help with control.
Shuxiao Chen, Jonathan Rogers, and Bike Zhang, UC Berkeley students who worked on the project, said it took about eight months to teach Cassie to skate. The process involved mathematical models, simulations to test the algorithms and figuring out how to interface and communicate with Cassie and various sensors. In short: lots of trial and error.
The team said the larger goal is to teach robots to achieve multi-modal locomotion, which humans are capable of. Optimizing locomotion for legged robots, according to the team, would improve travel efficiency over various terrains.
"Autonomous robots with multi-modal locomotion capabilities can have a big impact in the real-world from food delivery to security and surveillance to search and rescue missions," the team said.
Originally published June 7. Update, June 10: Adds comments from UC Berkeley student team.