Why did the mechanical ostrich cross the road? To prove that two-legged robots will one day rule the world.
Engineers in the US have released footage of an ostrich-inspired robot running on a treadmill and sprinting after a car.
Unlike other bipedal robots, the Planar Elliptical Runner doesn’t use sensors and computers to balance. Instead, stability is built into the design.
“All the intelligence is in the physical design of the robot itself,” Jerry Pratt, the IHMC researcher who led the team behind the runner, told MIT Tech Review.
The runner can reach speeds of up to 10mph, but researchers say it would be able to hit 20 or 30mph if it was human-sized.
Pratt said the design could be used in IHMC’s future systems: “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.
“Running will be eventually useful for any application that you want to do quickly and where wheels can’t work well.”
In February, a video of Boston Dynamics’ latest creation was leaked online. The footage shows the robot hopping over obstacles with unsettling ease.