Scientists from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition are developing the first remotely controlled running robot. The OutRunner is a biologically inspired robot designed to emulate running. Its six-legged design resembles the spokes of a wheel without the rim. Dr. Sebastien Cotton has been working as a research scientist at IHMC for the past four years. He is also CEO and founder of Robotics Unlimited, the company developing OutRunner.
“I’ve been waiting for a long time to take a robot prototype and turn it into a commercial product because, right now, you mainly see very complex and hard to control robots," Cotton said. "Basically, you need to be an engineer or a PhD to be able to use this kind of robot. I was tired of that. One of my desires is to get robots into people’s hands. That’s why I created this company, Robotics Unlimited. We are taking the technology developed at IHMC and turning it into a commercial product.”
The OutRunner is controlled through a remote or smartphone. Cotton says it can be used as a pace keeper for running, to set a speed to maintain. It could be of interest to enthusiasts of remote control vehicles and as a hands-on educational tool for students. Robotics Unlimited launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the next stages of product development.
“Over the next six months, we want to take time to finalize the robot’s design and set up our manufacturing facilities. Once this will be done, we will start producing them. We hopefully will be able to deliver them within a year from now," Cotton said.
In 2015, the company intends to host the world’s first robot running competition for legged robots to foster interest in robotics, open to anyone who has built a running robot or is using an OutRunner.
“One of the neat things about OutRunner is that we are making them upgradable, so people can change the foot design, tune the motor driver, motor controller to have more torque, more acceleration. What’s really important to see is that you have a human in the loop controlling the robot, so the competition will be more like as a team between a human and a robot," Cotton said.
You can see the OutRunner in action here:
Katya Ivanov, WUWF News