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Cassie the Robot Made History By Completing a 5K Run

Oregon State University's bipedal robot completed the course in 53 minutes.

Published Aug 9, 2021

photos taken at the OSU Research Forest (Peavy) showing Cassie the Robot with Mikhail Jones, Faculty Research Asistant in Mechanical Engineering. (Oregon State University/Wikimedia Commons)
photos taken at the OSU Research Forest (Peavy) showing Cassie the Robot with Mikhail Jones, Faculty Research Asistant in Mechanical Engineering. (Image Via Oregon State University/Wikimedia Commons)

Cassie, a bipedal robot developed by an Oregon State University (OSU) team, is just a pair of legs, but it's managed to do something pretty impressive. According to its creators, in late July 2021, it completed a 5-kilometer run on a single battery charge and untethered.

According to the team, Cassie is the first bipedal robot to complete such a run using machine learning on outdoor terrain. It took the robot 53 minutes to do so.

Cassie was developed by robotics professor Jonathan Hurst with a $1 million grant from the military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and introduced in 2017. Hurst also co-founded Agility Robotics that was responsible for commercializing Cassie.

The team behind the robot released a video of her completing her run:

Cassie’s knees bent like an ostrich’s, and it learned to run through what the team called a deep reinforcement learning algorithm that helped it focus on balancing on one leg and then another as it moved.

“The Dynamic Robotics Laboratory students in the OSU College of Engineering combined expertise from biomechanics and existing robot control approaches with new machine learning tools,” Hurst told OSU. “This type of holistic approach will enable animal-like levels of performance. It’s incredibly exciting.”

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.