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FastRunner: DARPA’s Metal Gear?

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.

The project is a bio-inspired ostrich robot called FastRunner that could achieve running speeds in excess of 32 kph (20 mph) – and that’s being conservative.  FastRunner is expected to stand 140cm (4’7″) tall, weigh just 30kg (66 lbs), and have only 1 actuator per leg!  See the leg mechanism in action and a simulation in the following clip.

Video (MIT’s Ostrich robot):

YouTube Preview Image

The project is part of a DARPA challenge to create a robot that can run 25 miles per hour, likely the one that has inspired some of the cheetah robots in development.  I also noticed that Ryuma Niiyama is working on it (we’ve covered his work before, see the Athlete Robot and Pneuborn).  Needless to say, this is one to keep an eye on.

The full lecture, which focuses mainly on flying robots, can be viewed on YouTube at the source link below.

[source: CMU Robotics @ YouTube]