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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Longest untethered robot walk

Andy Ruina of Cornell University and his engineering students have set an unofficial record for the longest continuous untethered walk (operated solely by remote control) by a robot. The robot, named ‘Ranger’, took over a hundred trips around an indoor track at Cornell, completing a 14.3 mile walk before succumbing to low battery power. To put that in perspective, as of July, 2010, the two Mars rovers had traveled just under 14 and just under 5 miles, respectively. And that took them seven years.

Ranger set an Earthly record two years ago by walking 5.6 miles, which was subsequently beaten by the ‘BigDog’ robot from Boston Dynamics. This year, Cornell students and Ranger retook the record.

Ruina hopes that his work in walking robots will help not only engineers as they create robots for a variety of purposes, but also the designers of prosthetics for human amputees.

Here’s a clip of Ranger making its historic walk:

If you think that’s wild, check out BigDog: