Ostriches are famous the world over for being fast runners, and also some of the most evil, foul-tempered creatures on the planet. That speed has got the people at MIT and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition interested as they work to develop FastRunner, a bipedal ostrichbot capable of moving incredibly fast over land. As far as the ill-tempered nature of the robot’s natural analog, that might perk some interest at DARPA, who are apparently fostering the bot’s development.
Today’s robots move about as fast as your grandma’s morning mall-walking group. Tomorrow’s robots will move as fast as Usain Bolt — all thanks to limbs modeled on ostrich legs.
That’s exactly the point, according to the Darpa-funded researchers behind a collaborative effort underway at MIT and the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). Only one year into a four-year research contract, the team is showing off stunning results that are expected to produce the fastest, most agile ‘bot ever. He’s called FastRunner, and he’ll zip along at 10 times the speed of a standard mobile robot, which clocks a mere 3 miles per hour.
FastRunner concept (left), fictitious Metal Gear Mk.II (right)
Recently Dr. Russ Tedrake (MIT) gave a lecture at Carnegie Mellon University where he presented preliminary work on an exciting new robot project that, conceptually speaking, looks quite a bit like the robots from Konami’s hit video game franchise. It’s being developed by Tedrake’s team at MIT alongside that of Dr. Jerry Pratt (IHMC) who cut his teeth on the Spring Flamingo at the MIT Leg Lab.