While we awe and applaud the genius of the astonishingly capable robots made by the big boys like Boston Dynamics, MIT, etc., this comparatively little-known robotics company’s latest invention might have just given us a sneak peak into the future of robotics.
Agility Robotics have recently unveiled a bipedal robot called Cassie, which is a build up on the company’s previous ATRIAS project at Oregon State University. The robot is a spectacle of “two-legged locomotion,” and probably is the closest thing to human walking till date.
The company revealed that Cassie took around 16-month and a whopping $1-million grant to build courtesy the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The custom design has taken inspiration from animal morphology and behavior and has built on designs inspired by nature like the hip joint with three degrees of freedom and flexible ankle joints, which is akin to a human leg.
While there are many bipedal robots, Cassie is superior as it can walk in a straight line without any external impetus and can perform impressive feats like standing, squatting, balancing and can also “take a pretty good fall without breaking.”
A bot like this can have a whole range of applications, starting from assisting soldiers on the field, to using it in emergency services like search and rescue missions in a burning building. Since it has a gait similar to humans, it has the advantage of overcoming obstacles that a wheeled robot cannot.
For now, the robot is a work in progress, although the creators are coming up with a commercial model this month. Co-creator of Agility robotics, Hurst, talked to IEEE Spectrum,
“Additions like arms and advanced sensor systems are coming soon to make the robot more autonomous, and we are also looking to implement a VR-style telepresence for remote control.”
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