A new bipedal platform using the fastest biped animals as its inspiration was developed and created by the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) and the Boston-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was funded by the DARPA agency through its M3 project, which stands for Maximum Mobility and Manipulation, and is called the FastRunner robot.
Patterned after an ostrich, the FastRunner robot is capable of achieving up to 27 miles-per-hour in speed, and its researchers are hoping that it will one day reach 50 and also be able to navigate rough and uneven terrain. It stands 1.4 meters tall and weighs 30 kilograms.
One of IHMC’s researchers, Johnny Godowski, said that this bipedal sprinting robot uses principles found in biology in order to utilize efficiency and speed. Currently, the FastRunner is capable of running over gentle slopes and can recover from small step down disturbances.
IHMC also hopes that one day they can use this robot not only in robotic zoos, but also in other useful avenues such as the military or in fire rescues and natural calamities. Currently, the FastRunner is designed to sprint, but cannot handle long distance running, and the researchers at IHMC are looking for ways to help this robot achieve such a feat.