This Bipedal Robot Finished a 5K in Less Than an Hour, Can You?

Meet Cassie, the bipedal robot 8 photos
Photo: Oregon State University via Youtube
Cassie completed a 5K in only 53 minutesCassie completed a 5K in only 53 minutesCassie completed a 5K in only 53 minutesCassie completed a 5K in only 53 minutesCassie completed a 5K in only 53 minutesCassie completed a 5K in only 53 minutesCassie completed a 5K in only 53 minutes
After making it walk through fire, then taking away its vision, researchers from Oregon State University are back with another challenge for their bipedal robot Cassie. This time, they tested the robot and made it finish a 5K on a single battery charge. Surprisingly, the robot completed the whole journey in just 53 minutes.
Okay, Cassie is no Usain Bolt, there's no doubt about that. But considering that it moves using two legs, this is an impressive feat. Bipedal robots are generally more difficult to operate than four-legged ones. Take Boston Dynamics' robot dog Spot, for example. It's just more stable than its bipedal counterpart. And because of that, it can also run faster (about 9 mph/14 kph).

The tricky part comes when the robot only has two legs to rely on. In this case, its stability and motion control are far more challenging to operate. However, these limitations might soon change, as researchers from Oregon State University are trying to "reach the limits of the hardware and show what it can do."

Produced by OSU spinout company Agility Robotics, Cassie is a highly efficient robot thanks to its design and construction. It taught itself to run using something known as deep reinforcement learning algorithm. By applying this method and taking advantage of its knees that bend like an ostrich's, Cassie has learned to make infinite adaptations in order to stay upright while moving.

Researchers claim that Cassie is actually the first bipedal robot to regulate a running gait on outdoor terrain using machine learning. It not only ran the 5K on Oregon State's campus in under an hour, but it accomplished that on a single battery charge.

During the 5K, the robot lost almost 7 minutes due to resets following two falls. The first time, Cassie had to be reset because its computer overheated, while the second time, it was commanded to execute a fast turn.

After this successful demonstration, OSU robotics professor Jonathan Hurst is confident that in the" not very distant future," seeing bipedal robots will be a daily occurrence.

"In the not very distant future, everyone will see and interact with robots in many places in their everyday lives, robots that work alongside us and improve our quality of life," Hurst said in a blog post.

While an average runner may be able to surpass Cassie's 5K time, the robot is capable of outrunning the everyday walker. Who knows, maybe one day we'll be running alongside robots. Oh, and if you think you'd have an advantage because you can climb stairs, Cassie can too, and it can do it with no vision as well.
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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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