Where form meets function

Creating a walking robot is no easy task. Despite numerous efforts throughout the years, scientists and engineers are still trying to create robots that can truly walk around our environments like we do. Motherboard recently met with Agility Robotics, a small startup in Oregon that is one of many trying to crack the code of creating the perfect bipedal robot.

While walking upright is something that even most toddlers are able to grasp, it’s actually taken millions of years for humans to develop the skill, making most bipedal robots produced in the past created more so for novelty, rather than carrying out real-life tasks.

Agility Robotics’ latest venture in creating a fully functional bipedal robot is four prototypes of a robot called, “Cassie,” each with the same minimal form of just a pelvis, hips, and legs. Besides being able to walk, Cassie was also built with the ability to withstand exterior forces with built-in reflexes, and even maintain her own balance using a programmed inner ear. While Cassie might not have the physical capacity to drive you to work or deliver your groceries (yet), these newly advanced two-legged machines are aimed toward bigger feats (that don’t require an upper half), from space exploration to various search and rescue efforts — the “dangerous and dirty jobs that we don’t want to do.”

The development of highly functional robots like Cassie is an ongoing debate in today’s society, and can even be concerning to some, but Jones assures us, “It doesn’t have feelings, it’s just a computer — we coded everything on it.” For now, these advanced mobile ‘bots like Cassie are just one step closer to the ones projected to one day operate on a human level and eventually become a useful part of society. Until then, we’re left to wonder just how far off that moment is.

Next, check out how Honda’s Café Racer concept blends classic style with future tech.

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