A team of engineers from Agility Robotics, an offshoot of the Oregon State University engineering program, built a cool two-legged robot that can walk by itself. The robot, nicknamed Cassie, could someday be used in dangerous search-and-rescue missions or package delivery.
Cassie is the successor to the team’s previous robot, ATRIAS. ATRIAS was developed about two years ago as a DARPA-funded project meant to make walking robots more efficient. ATRIAS could walk at a little over 3 mph and could move forward and backward, as well as uphill and downhill. The robot could balance itself and remain upright when pushed.
However, the design was somewhat clunky. The robot could only stand upright by shifting its weight from foot to foot, for instance. To fix these problems, the team developed Cassie, which is a smaller but more efficient version. Cassie features additional motors to enable standing in place and crouching, as well as a more efficient design.
The end result is a robot that’s about half the size as ATRIAS but much more powerful. The robot can stand and walk on uneven terrain, fall down without breaking, and is water resistant.
The company hopes their design will be used in search-and-rescue operations where sending a human is too dangerous, and in package delivery. The company envisions a fleet of autonomous vehicles to drive the mail to your address and a walking robot to bring that mail to your doorstep.