Ha, great job. What are you using for poles there? they seem to be very thin with those nice grips on them, almost the size of chopsticks. What was your fortune?
So i was thinking of a way to solve the skating problem a while back. And something occurred to me as a way of cheating the additional DOF with some momentum. You have proven that given a push the RN can glide (and the pole push seems to work nicely here too, so not much force is required). Perhaps, you could lean the RN back, extend a leg, and have him snap back(highspeed) onto the reverse skate(like a quick forward step), so instead of a humanlike skate, its more of a chicken walk on ice. Essentially you could count on friction to hold you in place while you lean back, and then you set highspeed on to go forward, shift the weight, and by the time friction is overcome you have nothing but forward motion as the RN shifts to the alternate foot.
Perhaps a beggining way to try this is to start with the poles and basically walk using the poles until you find the right gait and it can generate enough force. Kind of like training wheels. But Poles.
Of course I could certainly be wrong(and am the first to admit that), but it may be something to try while you are waiting for additional independant DOF. But with those new grippers on there your center of gravity is raised quite a bit.
I'll try running some sims in the next couple of days as I have been getting my act together to get my RN model into a physics engine. But the reality is that you seem to be doing great here.
Nice work, and btw, have you tried using one of those objects as a turning mechanism? A couple of weeks ago i had a plastic sword and my front/back and side to side gyros on and was holding a sword (thanks to matts grippers). The arm was out perfectly straight forward (like a human elbow locked). I rotated only the shoulder servo back so the tip of the sword went 180 degrees to facing down, and it bowed a little on my hard mat. When i brought it back it was stuck, and so instead of snapping the sword or hurting the servo i was able to get a perfect 90 degree turn. Consistantly. Your poles reminded me very much of this.
I look forward to your progress, keep up the good work.