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OSU Researchers Take Robot For Walk In The Park

With excitement akin to a baby's first steps, Oregon State University researchers took a walk in the park with the bipedal robot ATRIAS.

The young robot even had a safety harness to catch it when fell, which happened due to sensor glitches. Overall, ATRIAS moved well over the bumpy grass and even took a few dodge balls lobbed at it by the engineers.

The technology behind the bipedal robot was spring legs designed to mimic the efficient movement seen in animals, using six electric motors to get around. Initial testing shows that ATRIAS is "three times more energy-efficient than any other human-sized bipedal robots."

"That's part of what's unique about ATRIAS — not just that it can walk, and will eventually run — but that it's doing so with animal-inspired fluidity of motion that is so efficient," said Jonathan Hurst, an OSU associate professor and director of the Dynamic Robotics Laboratory, in a statement. "This will ultimately allow a much wider range of robotic uses and potential than something which requires larger amounts of energy."

The robot and research were funded by a four-year, $4.7 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. ATRIAS could eventually service the military as disaster response or as part of dangerous operations.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Lizzy Duffy