Robots can prevent heart failures, diagnosis cancers, and even beat a website’s “I Am Not A Robot” test. But on the whole, they really do suck at walking.
Hopefully, Cassie will be able to change that. Looking like a mix between a chicken and an AT-ST Walker from Star Wars, this bipedal machine was developed by Agility Robotics, a robotics startup born out of Oregon State University.
Cassie was created with a 16-month, $1 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Building on the work of Oregon State’s ATRIAS robot, this sleeker design is able to walk over uneven surfaces, cope with different elevations, and even deal with a kick from a human (see video below).
Rather interestingly, Cassie wasn’t explicitly designed to look like an ostrich from the get-go. Instead, it’s simply the way their mathematics dictated the most stable and agile two-legged moving structure.
“We weren’t trying to duplicate the appearance of an animal, just the techniques it uses to be agile, efficient and robust in its movement,” Jonathan Hurst, an associate professor of robotics in the OSU College of Engineering, said in a statement.
Revolutionizing robot mobility in this way could open the door for a limitless number of applications by allowing robots to go anywhere people can go. This could mean anything from delivering parcels, walking the dog, exploring dangerous territories, or even fighting wars.
“Quite simply, robots with legs can go a lot of places that wheels cannot. This will be the key to deliveries that can be made 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by a fleet of autonomous vans that pull up to your curb, and an onboard robot that delivers to your doorstep,” Hurst added. “This technology will simply explode at some point, when we create vehicles so automated and robots so efficient that deliveries and shipments are almost free.”