Moving while staying upright is easy for humans. But it hasn’t been easy for robots, especially bipedal robots. This robot runner from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), which you can see in the video above, might change that.
The robot is called the Planar Elliptical Runner and it looks more like a bird than a human. It is all mechanical, with no computer or sensors on board. Getting rid of the computer and software could actually mean fewer technical failures and a longer life for the robot.
The Elliptical Runner has only one motor to drive the legs, and a radio controller to determine how much power is applied to the motor. Its legs also have “reactive resilience,” which means that when the legs sense resistance, the robot will add more power to push through.
For now, the Elliptical Runner only runs in one direction but scientists are working on expanding its movement. Eventually, they hope to send robots like the Elliptical Runner to places where it’s too dangerous for humans to go.