A robot that can run: OSU celebrates historic 5K


CORVALLIS, Oregon – Over a period of roughly four years, a group of Oregon State University students and professors have created a bipedal robot that can operate.

The project was initiated by the company Robotics Agility. Jonathan Hurst, company co-founder and professor of mechanical engineering and robotics at OSU, helped lead the project.

PhD student Kevin Green has been part of the process for a few years.

“Cassie is originally really an evolution of the earlier robots in our research lab. So even before Cassie there was a robot called ATRIAS, which meant ‘suppose the robot is a sphere’, which means, let’s get to the point. How well can we create a simple robot that exhibits agile locomotion, ”Green said.

Simply put, Cassie is one of many robots designed to study motion and help start other projects with Agility Robotics.

ATRIUS and Cassie led to the creation of Digit, another two-legged robot, which also has arms and a torso.

The end goal is to have robots like Digit to help with everyday life, like moving boxes and working in factories. Agility Robotics has since started working on Digit the robot through its own company. But students in the Dynamic Robotics Lab are still working hard to perfect Cassie.

Back in july, Cassie the robot completed a 53-minute 5K race. Its top speed is around 7 mph.

Jeremy Dao, a doctoral student at OSU, helped create what goes on in the robot’s control.

“A lot of our recent work has focused on this side of things, getting Cassie to learn on her own, to walk and run and do some really cool stuff,” Dao said.

Dao also told KEZI 9 News that working with Cassie can be difficult at times.

“It’s been a lot of trial and error over the years, but we’ve had some great successes,” Dao said.

Running isn’t the only thing Cassie can do; the robot can also climb the stairs. And students like Green and Dao have bigger plans for Cassie.

The team wants to help Cassie do things like light up a penny and add complexity to the robot’s movement.

“We are also looking to add vision and perception to the robot, so that the robot can autonomously navigate the world,” Dao said.

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