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'Blind' Robot Successfully Navigates Stairs

By Engadget

May 21, 2021

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A "blind" bipedal robot trained in a simulator by Oregon State University (OSU) researchers can negotiate varying terrain, including the climbing of stairs.

The researchers applied sim-to-real Reinforcement Learning to establish how Agility Robotics' Cassie robot would ambulate.

The OSU team taught Cassie virtually to manage various situations, including stairs and flat surfaces. In real-world tests, the robot could handle curbs, logs, and other uneven terrain it had never encountered before, and ascended and descended stairs with 80% and 100% efficiency, respectively.

According to the researchers, "This work has demonstrated surprising capabilities for blind locomotion and leaves open the question of where the limits lie."

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