Introducing ATRIAS, a bipedal robot designed and built by Dynamic Robotics Labs. Its developers are optimistic that it'll eventually become the world's fastest two-legged robot. Until then, it'll have to endure the physical abuse typically afforded robots these days.
ATRIAS stands for "Assume The Robot Is A Sphere." Alternately, the robot could have been named "Assume The Robot Is A Chicken" because its legs were inspired by that particular bird. According to Jonathan Hurst, a roboticist at the Oregon State University College of Engineering, it'll eventually be the fastest bipedal robot in the world. Much of its agility is derived from legs made from a lightweight carbon-fiber mechanism built up on fiberglass springs.
As noted by Dynamics Robotics Labs, the robot is "designed to move like a simple 'spring-mass' model, a theoretical model which is comparable to a pogo stick. This springy model can both walk and run with remarkable energy economy and in a fashion highly similar to humans and other animals".
In the latest batch of testing, ATRIAS successfully managed to resist kicks and a flurry of dodgeball strikes. Well, until one of the balls hit the emergency stop button.
The DARPA-funded robot could eventually serve in rescue situations, and even inspire prosthetic limbs, which will help restore natural movement. ATRIAS is scheduled to demo its skills at the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge in June.
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