Cassie, a robot built by Agility Robotics, set the Guinness World Record for the fastest 100-meter run by a bipedal robot.
Cassie first made a name for itself in 2021 by completing a 5K on campus with a time of 53 minutes. After months of training, the torso-less, faceless machine has now set a Guinness World Record for the fastest 100-metre dash by a bipedal robot.
It clocked in at 24.73 seconds, which is still far from Usain Bolt’s record-breaking human time of 9.58 seconds.
“Cassie runs it like a moderate jog,” engineering student Devin Crowley told As It Happens host Nil Köksal. “It’s impressive for a robot, but it’s not quite dangerous yet.”
Crowley spent six months training Cassie for the 100-metre dash, which took place on May 11. He’s proud of the robot, although the sight of it sprinting across OSU’s Whyte Track and Field Center was otherworldly.
“I like to describe it as the lower half of the Terminator,” he said. “But it’s more like an ostrich…. It has inverted knees. Technically, they’re … not knees; they’re ankles. So it looks like a bird. Just a pelvis with legs, and they bend mostly backwards.”
Oregon State robotics professor Jonathan Hurst, artificial intelligence professor Alan Fern and their students developed Cassie’s structure and software in 2017. They used funds from the National Science Foundation and a $1-million US grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. They also lead the robot to its 5K feat.
Crowley built on that work during his final grad studies project to train Cassie for the dash.
The robot had to start by standing still, and then accelerate and run until it crossed the finish line. It then had to slow down and return to a standing position — which was the biggest challenge for Crowley. He says he specialized Cassie’s programming to run as fast as possible, by prioritizing speed over other attributes, such as turning.