Researchers from OSU had success in the field taking their walking all-terrain robot out for a spin. Their ATRIAS robot uses six electric motors which run off a lithium-ion battery (like your MacBook) roughly the size of a half-gallon milk carton (OK, maybe your MacBook from 15 years ago) to power its realistic animal elastic leg motion.
The human-sized bipedal box—bot was taken through its paces on a grassy field up and down hills, with some dodge balls being whipped at it to simulate… roving bands of jerks who might whip dodge balls at a person, I suppose. ATRIAS showed off its grace by correcting its step and staying astride throughout the barrage.
The researchers behind it, including Jonathan Hurst, a professor in OSU’s mechanical engineering department, say the robot is the closest yet to simulating human movement.
“Animals with legs sort of flow in the energy used, in which retained kinetic energy is just nudged by very efficient muscles and tendons to continue the movement once it has begun,” said Hurst in a press release. “That’s part of what’s unique about ATRIAS—not just that it can walk, and will eventually run—but that it’s doing so with animal-inspired fluidity of motion that is so efficient.”
This project was born of a $4.7 million grant from the extremely science fiction-y sounding Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and has potential applications in several fields, particularly prosthetics.
But of course that’s just how they sugarcoat it to sell it to the masses. Obviously we all know these robots will kill us all…