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Two-legged robot demonstrates complex locomotion

By Reuters
15 February 2017   |   3:01 pm
Meet Cassie, the latest step forward in bipedal, walking robots.

Meet Cassie, the latest step forward in bipedal, walking robots.

Developed at Oregon State University, the ostrich-like system can handle a complex and uneven terrain. It can steer away from obstacles, and even keep its balance when pushed.

The makers say it’s a more energy efficient system, that can go anywhere that a human can go. This could be partially useful in search and rescue.

“Imagine you’ve got a fire in a building and the fire chief isn’t really sure if somebody is still in the building,” said Jonathan Hurst, Oregon State University Associate Professor of Robotics.

“They have to make a difficult decision about whether they’re going to send one of their firefighters in because it’s dangerous. But if you’ve got a robot that has the same ability as a person then it’s a no-brainer; you send a robot in.”

A number of research centres are already working on two-legged robots, most notably Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics. Cassie, the makers say, is more robust than others.

Hurst said, “So a lot of the difference between our machine walking around and a lot of other robots you might see is really under the hood, and you don’t notice it until the robot encounters a completely unexpected disturbance and stumbles and recovers, whereas the other machine might never be able to handle that sort of thing.”

Cassie was built with a one-million dollar grant from the U.S. government. Oregon State spin-off Agility Robotics is now looking to commercialise the system.