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An Ostrich-Like Robot Pushes the Limits of Legged Locomotion

By Technology Review

May 5, 2017

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Researchers at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola, FL, have developed the Planar Elliptical Runner, a two-legged robot that will help explore how mechanical design can be used to enable sophisticated legged locomotion.

The robot's mechanical design provides dynamic stability as it runs, instead of relying on sensors and a computer to help balance itself.

"We believe that the lessons learned from this robot can be applied to more practical running robots to make them more efficient and natural looking," says IHMC researcher Jerry Pratt.

The Planar Elliptical Runner has a single motor that drives the legs; the elliptical motion of its legs together with its body shape provide inherent stability. The robot can run at 10 miles an hour, but IHMC researchers say if it were the size of a human, it would travel as fast as 30 miles per hour.

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