Oregon State's Bipedal Robot Runs A 5K As We Watch In Skynet-Induced Terror
While robots are cool, the jury is still out on whether they will want to kill us pesky humans if the robot uprising occurs. This is not helped by the fact that we are making more robust robots that can walk and move as well as if not better than humans. Enter Cassie: a bipedal legs-only robot devised at Oregon State University that just traversed five kilometers in under an hour.
Since 2017, students at OSU have worked on Cassie under the direction of robotics professor Jonathan Hurst, using a 16-month $1 million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. Hurst, who founded spin-off company Agility Robotics, explained that “The Dynamic Robotics Laboratory students in the OSU College of Engineering combined expertise from biomechanics and existing robot control approaches with new machine learning tools.”
This combination of skills has seemingly unlocked “animal-like levels of performance,” such as with Cassie whose legs bend like an ostrich’s. This ostrich-like robot then taught itself to run using a deep reinforcement learning algorithm to develop the best method for staying upright while moving quickly. The training is what allowed Cassie to complete a 5K on Oregon State’s campus in 53 minutes and 3 seconds, which includes 6.5 minutes of reset time due to falls from an overheated computer and moving too fast through a turn.
Despite these minor issues, what Cassie has accomplished is quite impressive and scary at the same time. If you are trying to run from a pursuant bear, you only need to be faster than your slowest friend; but that may not matter when it comes to running robots. Hopefully, it does not come to that, but let us know what you think of Cassie in the comments below.