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Oregon State University (OSU) researchers announced Tuesday that a bipedal robot named Cassie set a new Guinness World Record for running a 100-meter dash.
Cassie, invented at the university’s College of Engineering and produced by Agility Robotics, crossed the finish line at 24.73 seconds at the OSU’s Whyte Track and Field Center, making it a record for a bipedal robot.
Within the time frame, Cassie started by standing in an upright position and completed the race in the same stance without falling.
OSU computer science professor Alan Fern, who collaborated with the robot’s research and development team, described Cassie to KLCC as a robot without a head, arms, or eyes and “just has legs and basically a little torso.”
“So Cassie can get around by just feel, more or less,” Fern said.
However, Fern told the university’s media that starting and stopping in a standing position makes for a more difficult task than running — similar to how taking off and landing are harder than flying a plane.
“This 100-meter result was achieved by a deep collaboration between mechanical hardware design and advanced artificial intelligence for the control of that hardware,” Fern said.
According to OSU news, Cassie trained for one year in a simulation setting with a full week of a computing technique called parallelization, which simultaneously entails multiple processes and calculations.
“Cassie has been a platform for pioneering research in robot learning for locomotion,” Devin Crowley, project leader, told OSU news.
Before setting the new world record, Cassie also ran a 5K in just over 53 minutes last year.
Crowley said completing a 5K showed the Robo-athlete’s reliability and endurance, leaving researchers wondering how fast Cassie could run.
“That led the research team to shift its focus to speed,” Crowley said.
Jonathan Hurst, chief technology officer at Agility Robotics and a robotics professor at Oregon State, told university media that being recognized by Guinness World Records, which dubs itself as the ultimate authority on record-breaking achievements, is “a big watershed moment.”
“This may be the first bipedal robot to learn to run, but it won’t be the last,” he said. “I believe control approaches like this are going to be a huge part of the future of robotics.”
Hurst said the exciting part of the race is the potential.
“Using learned policies for robot control is a very new field, and this 100-meter dash is showing better performance than other control methods,” Hurst said. “I think progress is going to accelerate from here.”
Hurst directed Cassie’s research team with a 16-month, $1 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which the National Science Foundation also funded.
Guinness World Records’ website reports other titles for fast robots exist, “but this one is based on a standard competitive human task. It is not just a measure of momentary top-speed.”
“It is effectively average speed sustained across a certain distance and under the significant constraints that it must start in a standing pose and return to that pose after crossing the finish line,” the website reads. “It cannot simply run 100 metres and crash.”
Cassie set the new record on May 11, 2022.
Despite Cassie and her team of researchers’ groundbreaking achievements in computer science and technology, the android still wouldn’t do well against humankind.
Usain Bolt ran the 100-meter dash in the final of the 2009 World Athletics Championship race at 9.58 seconds.
Bolt still holds the world record.
Cassie the robot, invented at @EngineeringOSU and produced by OSU spinout company @agilityrobotics, has established a Guinness World Record @GWR for the fastest 100 meters by a bipedal robot: https://t.co/NADorse8GY pic.twitter.com/ingh8iPXOu
— Oregon State News (@oregonstatenews) September 27, 2022