Walking is something that the able-bodied take for granted on a daily basis, however for robots it’s one of the greatest challenges to overcome. Researchers from Oregon State University’s Dynamic Robotics Lab have taken up that challenge with their ATRIAS (Assume This Robot Is A Sphere) robot.
The robot was designed with the end-goal of navigating rough terrain while walking or running and remaining upright. ATRIAS uses two spring-loaded carbon-fiber legs that act as a suspension system as well as a means of storing mechanical energy, thereby saving energy and allowing for more dynamic maneuvering.
Six electric motors powered by a massive milk jug-sized lithium polymer battery provide those legs the energy they need to walk or run, which is offset by the stored mechanical energy.
The researchers recently field-tested the robot on lumpy uneven ground while tethered to a safety harness that didn’t aid in supporting ADRIAS but was rather used to catch the bot if it fell.
ADRIAS performed surprisingly well despite a few sensor glitches and an impromptu game of dodgeball (for science), and is set to compete in DARPA’s Robotic Challenge finals in June.