Researchers From Technische Universität Berlin and the University Clinic of Freiburg Propose a New Modular System for Evaluating Robots and Humans Posture Control and Balance

Significant advancement in robotics in recent years has led to the development of remarkable robots with human-like capabilities, including humanoid robots, whose bodies structurally resemble humans. 

Scientists have come across various challenges while evaluating humanoid robots. One of the critical challenges involves Posture control and balance while using humanoid robots in a real-world situation. Many evaluation results show frequent fall of these robots while performing tasks in real-world environments due to lack of balance and control.

Therefore, a group of researchers from Technische Universität Berlin and the University Clinic of Freiburg introduce a system capable of evaluating the posture control and balance of humans as well as humanoid robots. Their recent paper, “COMTEST Project: A Complete Modular Test Stand for Human and Humanoid Posture Control and Balance,” describes a motion platform used in their system. This platform provides perturbation, a system that tracks the body of the robots, humans, and exoskeletons. Their design includes control software and a set of predefined perturbations, a humanoid robot used to test algorithms, and analysis software. All this helps them to provide SOTA data analysis to evaluate quantitative measures of performance.

The new proposed evaluation system has a modular design, such that its components can be replaced or extended depending on experimental requirements. This allows the system to make changes when required, such as adding perturbation profiles, new evaluation principles, and alternative tracking systems. 

This system created can be used to evaluate various robots and exoskeletons, compare their performance with that of humans, and assess the balance and posture of human subjects.

The team conducted an experiment and evaluated the balance and posture control of a humanoid robot named Lucy to demonstrate the advantages of the system. Lucy is 1.5 m in height and weighs around 16.5 kgs. The results suggest that their system can be used for the Eurobench project, which aims to devise standardized methods to test the performance of robots.


Figure 1 Suggested posture control disturbance scenarios

The system employed for the Eurobench consortium incorporates a testbed ready for posture control experiments. Additionally, it includes tested software routines for the analyses and uses human datasets to compare performance standards of balancing based on criteria developed in past decades.

The team believes that their system will allow scientists and researchers to test the performance of humanoid robots more reliably based on key challenges, especially balance and posture control. They also suggest its use in the medical and healthcare industry by physicians and researchers to study the balance and posture of humans.