Whether you think a walking robot that moves like an ostrich is incredibly cool or insanely terrifying, you have Jonathan Hurst, associate professor of robotics at Oregon State University and chief technology officer of Agility Robotics, to thank. Hurst and his team have created Cassie, a bipedal robot that moves with a remarkably fluid, birdlike gait. (The group studied bird's legs "as a means of achieving agility, efficiency and robustness," according to New Atlas.)
Cassie is an evolution of another Oregon State-designed walking robot, ATRIAS. The new machine weighs half as much as its predecessor, thanks largely to the efforts to develop components in-house. For example, the team looked to the electric vehicle industry for Cassie's lithium-ion battery pack, but the packaging was far too large for the robot's needs, so they built their own.
A New Bipedal Robot
"ATRIAS had motors that would work against either other, which was inefficient," Hurst wrote in the university's release. "With Cassie, we've fixed this problem and added steering, feet, and a sealed system, so it will work outdoors in the rain and snow as we continue with our controller testing."
The release also notes Cassie was built with a 16-month, $1 million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.