Posted in: SERVO Blog (05/29 at 09:37 AM)
Kickstarter: OutRunner - The World’s First RC Running Robot
OutRunner is the world's first legged running robot that is commercially available to the public. That's right—a running robot! OutRunner is eating up the competition with amazing capabilities: self-balancing, running up to 20 mph on almost any types of terrains (grass, asphalt, dirt…) with up to 2 hours of battery life, extremely simple to operate and upgradable. There is simply no other robot with such capabilities and so easy and fun to play with. All you need to do is just press the accelerator and steer it wherever you want it to go; it's that easy. Let the fun begin! Check out their Kickstarter if you're interested in getting one early.
Robotics Unlimited is a spinoff of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) where a team of scientists and engineers have been working for years toward the development of walking and running robots. Part of the IHMC robotics team has been spending their time figuring out how to make a robotic system capable of running while maintaining stability. While research robots are very expensive machines dedicated to lab experiments, Robotics Unlimited's founder wanted to have a robot easy to operate, relatively low cost to build but still providing amazing running capability. After several months of thinking, testing and prototyping, OutRunner was born.
OutRunner comes in two versions: Core and Performance. OutRunner Core is the version you need If you just want to play around with the robot and have fun. OutRunner Performance is a much more powerful version packed with state-of-the-art sensors that will turn any race against your friends into something totally epic !
How does it work
Well, as you will see in our video, OutRunner robots are biologically-inspired; they emulate the behavior of legged animals by reproducing their step pattern and having a similar mass / length distribution. By having a center of mass lower than the leg axis of rotation, OutRunner robots exploit a buoyancy effect, making them inherently stable and eliminating the need for expensive sensors and complex control algorithms. Energy efficiency is achieved by exploiting the same feature observed in legged animals; using legs as an energy storage system allows for fluctuation and conservation (and not losses) of potential and kinetic energy during running. Because of this energy storage mechanism, OutRunner is able to run for 2h whereas a RC car with the same battery will run only for 20 min max. Steering is achieved by shifting the center of mass of the robot, forcing it to lean to one side, which in result induces a turn (similarly to what happens on a bicycle). These are the basic concepts behind the OutRunner robot; and even if there is much more going on, the robot takes care of it for you so that the only thing you have to worry about is to have fun with it!