On one hand, artificial intelligence research has grown substantially over the last few years with numerous improvements made in the field, robotics, on the other hand, has not seen as many breakthroughs. Most humanoid robots are still quite weird, and their movements are not near as efficient as our biological bodies.
However, a team of researchers from Agility Robotics, hope to address this situation. They have developed a bipedal robot known by the name of Cassie, which they have revealed during one of the company’s routine tests.
Agility Robotics is the company that emerged from the ATRIAS project started by the Oregon State University. Its purpose is to create robots able to walk just like humans by focusing on legged locomotion. Their overall goal has a number of applications, but it is still quite far from becoming a reality.
Their most advanced work seems to be Cassie, which was built over a period of 16 months, thanks to a $1 million grant issued by DARPA, (Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency). Despite the hopes of developing humanoid locomotion, Cassie’s design was inspired by animal behavior and morphology as it looks like the legs of a dinosaur such as a raptor.
Cassie’s legs include a hip joint with three degrees of freedom as well as flexible ankle joints, similar to that of a human’s legs. The company’s new bipedal robot is not just able to stand or walk, but even squat and balances itself. It not fragile enough to break even if somehow falls, much like other bipedal robots which even have trouble walking in a straight line.
This type of bipedal robot design could be helpful in a wide range of situations, from assisting soldiers in the field, or in emergency services like search and rescue missions. It can even be used in delivery services with the added benefit of being able to access locations where current wheeled robots or other devices can’t go.
A commercial version of Cassie will be available this month, which will soon receive several additions like arms and more advanced sensors in order to develop its autonomous capacities. Nonetheless, a lot of research is still required to reach the goal of robotic automation similar to that of humans.
Image source: Oregon State University
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