Meet OutRunner: Robotics Unlimited Running Robot Outruns Your Imagination

May 12, 2014, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Almost, well almost, everything that is being made today seems to come with a remote control option. The adrenaline pumping technology dreams have made things possible even before they are envisaged on a larger scale.

That explains the advent of remote-controlled cars, planes and what not.  But then have you ever imagined what it would be like if someone develops a robot that sprints like a cheetah?

Folks at Robotics Unlimited indeed thought of such a possibility and have come up with something amazing, to say the least. Watching the device that just got developed is like sitting through in amazement in a cinema house that screens the best in sci-fi.

OutRunner2

So what we have here is the “world’s first RC running robot”. Called the OutRunner, it actually does exactly that. It in fact out runs your imagination too in the best possible manner.

In case you haven’t heard of Robotics Unlimited, the company comprises a group of robotics, electronics and mechanical designers from the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition.

What they have developed is a device that supports itself and takes off on vertically-mounted spinning “turrets” and monopod-like legs extending out from them. As the turrets spin, the legs get set to run and amazingly well.

The company has made sure that the OutRunner is not a bipedal robot.  As has been stated by the company, the lower center of mass compared to the leg axis of rotation helps the OutRunner enjoys a buoyancy effect and that makes it stable.

This also does away with the need for expensive sensors and complex control algorithms.  “Energy efficiency is achieved by exploiting the same feature observed in legged animals; using legs as an energy storage system allows for fluctuation and conservation (and not losses) of potential and kinetic energy during running,” says Robotics Unlimited in its Kickstarter page.

The robot has been made in such a way that they can be steered at will and that is possible by shifting their center of mass to one side or the other.

It looks like the company will push forward two versions of the OutRunner. Accordingly, the OutRunner Core will be presented as a basic model that returns a top speed of 16 km/h. This variant will boast a battery runtime of one hour, and will sport a universal camera mount. A standard remote control unit will control the six-legged model.

OutRunner1

Meanwhile, the second model, christened OutRunner Performance, is a more high-end in creation. Touting a top speed of 32 km/h, it can run continuously for two hours on a single charge. A 720p onboard video camera capable of that transmitting real time real time clips over a Wi-Fi connection is what makes it more notable.

The device can be controlled via a remote or even a smartphone app.  The OutRunner Performance also gives you the option of equipping it with up to 12 legs.

Currently part of a Kickstarter campaign, we hear the OutRunner might be retailing soon for as less as under $250. What is your take on this creation?

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