Ever wonder if a robot gets booty lock?
Students at Oregon State University’s College of Engineering might be able to tell you the answer.
Cassie the robot, produced by Agility Robotics at OSU, established a Guinness World Record for the fastest 100 meters by a bipedal robot with a time of 24.73 seconds this week.
Cassie was created in 2017 and, last year, ran 5 kilometers around campus in 53 minutes untethered on a single battery charge. According to Oregon State, Cassie is the first bipedal robot to use machine learning to control a running gait on outdoor terrain.
The robot has knees that bend, uses no cameras or external sensors and operates “as if blind.” Part of the challenge was to program Cassie to start from a free-standing position, run, then return to the free-standing position without falling.
“Completing a 5K was about reliability and endurance, which left open the question of, how fast can Cassie run? That led the research team to shift its focus to speed,” graduate student Devin Crowley said in a press release. “Cassie can perform a spectrum of different gaits but as we specialized it for speed we began to wonder, which gaits are most efficient at each speed? This led to Cassie’s first optimized running gait and resulted in behavior that was strikingly similar to human biomechanics.”
The experiment was developed under the direction of OSU robotics professor Jonathan Hurst and artificial intelligence professor Alan Fern with a 16-month, $1 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Johanna Gretschel is a freelance writer and broadcaster living in Austin, Texas, who has covered elite track and field and running in all its forms. She contributes to Runner’s World, ESPN, Austin American-Statesman, FloTrack, MileSplit, Women’s Running and Podium Runner. Yes, she has run a marathon!