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Prototype Robot Walks Like an Ostrich

Credit: Unsplash

Cassie the robot takes strides into the future.

Currently, Boston Dynamics is one of the biggest names in modern robotics, with their prototype mechanoids running, jumping, and doing dances from the 70s. However, while Boston Dynamics is at the forefront of notoriety, there are plenty of other tech heads out there making some equally impressive strides in the field of robotics. And speaking of strides, you know what takes long strides? Ostriches.


Agility Robotics, a robotics research group based out of Oregon State University, have created their own bipedal prototype robot. This robot, nicknamed “Cassie,” is designed to more closely mimic the long strides of a human being, though due to its design, it looks a little more like a headless ostrich. Nevertheless, Cassie is quite the capable machine. Cassie can traverse all kinds of terrain on its specially-balanced legs, from dirt and grass to rickety ocean docks. Cassie’s legs are home to a multitude of tiny motors that allow it to adjust its posture in real time. It even has powered ankles that allow it to stand still and upright, which doesn’t sound that impressive until you realize that to stand up, your body needs to constantly balance and reorient itself. For a machine to be able to perform such precise motions is quite an accomplishment.

At the current stage of testing, Cassie does need a handler present to keep it balanced on certain kinds of uneven surfaces like staircases, but they’re on the right track in their development. The team is hoping Cassie can eventually walk autonomously, at which point they can begin developing practical applications for it. Said applications could include search and rescue, disaster relief, and package delivery. Cassie could also be adapted for use as a medical assistance device, for purposes like helping older folks stand up or aiding those missing limbs in movement.

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