Robotic Ostrich May Become the World's Fastest, Most Absurd Robot

Our first bipedal military robot may not be human shaped, terminator inspired killing machine. No, it could be something far more terrifying--a robotic ostrich.

The image above is a rendering of DARPA’s latest pet project called FastRunner. Ostriches of course are better known for being the fastest land bird around than for their fighting ability. These land fowl are also capable of traversing desert dunes and all manner of terrain.

The joint project between the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) and MIT hopes to reproduce all of the ostrich's abilities into the fastest-running robot ever built. The FastRunner uses a novel leg design that only needs one actuator per leg and has mechanical tendons. The bigger innovation of this design is that the legs can achieve a much larger stride, allowing the bot to reach speeds of 20 to 50 miles per hour.

For now, the FastRunner is still in its early design and simulation phase, but if its made to spec at 4.6 feet tall and 66 pounds--and with that running speed--it could be the most absurd and coolest robot we’ve ever made.

[IHMC via Plastic Pals and IEEE Spectrum]

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