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Bipedal robotic ostrich may become world's fastest robot

Plans to build a bipedal ostrich that can reach speeds of 50mph

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Our first bipedal military robot may not be a human-shaped and terminator-inspired killing machine. No, it could be something far more terrifying - a robotic ostrich.

The image below is a rendering of the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) FastRunner project. Ostriches of course are better known for being the fastest land bird around than for their fighting ability. These land fowl are also capable of traversing desert dunes and all manner of terrain.

The joint project between the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and MIT hopes to reproduce all of the ostrich's abilities into the fastest-running robot ever built. The FastRunner uses a novel leg design that only needs one actuator per leg and has mechanical tendons. The bigger innovation of this design is that the legs can achieve a much larger stride, allowing the bot to reach speeds of 20-50mph.

For now, the FastRunner is still in its early design and simulation phase, but if its made to spec at 1.4m tall and 30kg - and with that running speed - it could be the most absurd and coolest robot we've ever made.


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