ATRIAS robot now blindly takes platforms in its stride

3 pictures

The emu-like ATRIAS robot is now capable of making its way over platforms 15 cm (0.5 ft) tall

View gallery - 3 images

As we count down to this weekend's DARPA Robotics Challenge, the competition is already heating up. Coming hot on the heels of MIT's leaping and bounding robotic cheetah is Oregon State University's ATRIAS bipedal robot. The team behind this ostrich-like machine has showcased its latest talent, the ability to blindly walk over the top of obstacles in its path.

A product of Oregon State's Dynamic Robotics Laboratory, the ATRIAS project is intended to explore the science of walking and running, with the overarching goal of building a robot that can negotiate bumpy terrain without toppling over. We last took a look at ATRIAS earlier this year, when the researchers demonstrated its ability to maintain balance even when bombarded with kicks and dodge balls.

Now, the team has shown off the robot's ability to saunter up and across a 15 cm (0.5 ft) tall platform. Unlike MIT's cheetah, which was fitted with a LIDAR system to first detect obstacles before jumping over them, ATRIAS just takes things in its stride, with the ability to adjust its footing on the fly to keep its spring-loaded legs pumping along.

Numerous times in the demonstration video, ATRIAS' feet only land partially on the platform, but even this isn't enough to bring its constantly pumping carbon fiber legs to a halt. The material and design of the legs are crafted to lessen the impact of each footfall and absorb shocks making their way up the body – and the design looks to be proving itself pretty well here.

The team will have ATRIAS on show at the DARPA Robotics Challenge beginning on Friday, where Gizmag will be on deck to bring you all the highlights.

You can see the robot do its thing in the video below.

View gallery - 3 images

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