The goal of most bipedal robotics research is to develop methods of achieving a dynamically balanced gait. Most current approaches focus on maintaining the balance of the system. This paper introduces a measure called the foot placement estimator (FPE) to restore balance to an unbalanced system. We begin by developing a theoretical proof to define when a biped is stable, as well as defining the region in which stability results are valid. This forms the basis for the derivation of the FPE. The results of the FPE are then extended to a complete gait cycle using the combination of a state machine and simple linear controllers. This control system is applied to a detailed and realistic simulation based on a physical robot currently under construction. Utilizing the FPE as a measure of balance allows us to create dynamically balanced gait cycles in the presence of external disturbances, including gait initiation and termination, without any precalculated trajectories.