Cassie - the fastest robotic sprinter

Cassie - the fastest robotic sprinter

Today there are already a huge number of robots that are used not only in industry but are also common in households, for example in the form of cute dogs.

However, these machines are increasingly being used for exploration during various natural disasters. In the near future, robots will undoubtedly be a common part of most modern armies in the world.

Just as everyone has at least one computer at home today, every household will have its own robot in twenty or thirty years. Some will probably be at least partially designed according to current Cassie-type models.

Ostrich legs

Cassie is a product of Agility Robotics. Cassie was introduced to the world in 2017, but it didn’t get attention until five years later when this robot was able to complete a five-kilometer run in a dizzying 53 minutes. However, that’s not her only success.

She already has a record in the 100-meter dash for two-legged robots. The competition with four limbs is still slightly better, but it’s not said that with some improvements in construction and software changes, Cassie won’t reach the highest levels in all robotic categories.

One of the main reasons why Cassie is so fast is her specific body structure. Unlike many humanoid robots like Atlas, who resemble humans in their body structure, Cassie doesn’t resemble Homo sapiens at all.

Basically, it is a control unit to which legs are attached from the side. However, even they do not have a human form. The creators of this robot were inspired by another representative of the animal kingdom, namely an ostrich.

So Cassie’s knees don’t bend forward like ours do, but backward. This is very practical because an ostrich, although it doesn’t look like it, is a very good long-distance runner. If necessary, it can easily cover a distance of fifty kilometers in just one hour.

To be as efficient as possible, Cassie doesn’t just need suitable body proportions but also a well-written program that will manage everything. And that turned out to be the biggest problem.

Artificial Intelligence

Creating a suitable algorithm for running is really a very demanding matter, so the creators of Agility Robotics decided to use artificial intelligence. Thanks to this solution, Cassie could start learning to run correctly from scratch, which turned out to be a rather lengthy but correct path.

The problem was not so much in running as such but in starting or stopping. These disciplines are much more demanding for AI than maintaining a continuously constant movement. For this reason, Cassie is controlled by two neural networks. One takes care of running as such, and the other ensures smooth starting and stopping.

Robots are no longer just cute toys or the products of science fiction authors. They are increasingly used in many industries. And it is already more or less certain that creations like Cassie are just the first swallow of many.