This robot's got legs all the way up to its electric motor. Cassie's lanky mechanical limbs sashay into the future of bipedal mechanisms.
A bipedal robot from Agility Robotics lab at Oregon State University, Cassie might someday waltz into burning building in place of firefighters or strut fabulously into the rubble of a disaster zone, going where our fleshy human bodies are too fragile to go. They're hoping for less harrowing destiny for Cassie as well, as a delivery courier—because who wouldn't want a large metal ostrich-bot ringing their doorbell.
Co-founder of Agility Robotics Jonathan Hurst told IEEE Spectrum that arms and sensors are next, giving Cassie the ability to pick itself up from a fall. At this point, they're hoping to make these robots for under $100,000 each.
Walking on two legs is really hard for robots. The human pelvis, hips, knees and all of the stabilizing muscles and tendons in between work together to keep us steady and standing up, most of the time. In robots, walking sideways or balance with the help of a tail, but walking on two legs without falling is still a huge hurdle for engineers.
In the video released today, Cassie's spindly saunter looks effortless, keeping pace with a human, balancing on a shifting dock surface, and recovering smoothly when said human gives it a rude kick in the mechanical ass. One can envision this bot taking long walks on the beach with its maker someday.
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