Cassie The Bipedal Bot


Credit: Agility Robotics

By: Lena Tosounidis, Reporter

Cassie is a bipedal ostrich-like robot from Agility Robotics, a branch of Oregon State University. Instead of moving around on four legs or four wheels, Cassie walks on two legs, much like its namesake, the cassowary, a bipedal flightless bird similar to an ostrich.

This enables Cassie to easily traverse many types of terrain to deliver packages or provide support during disaster relief efforts. The shape of the legs pays an homage to the birds’ agility, efficiency, and durability in the real world. So far, Cassie has proven its skill by conquering dirt, grass, a wobbly dock surrounded by water, and even the heavy rains of Oregon.

While Agility Robotics has prioritized search-and-rescue and disaster relief in terms of Cassie’s abilities, they also want the robot to be able to deliver packages straight to people’s front doors. Agility Robotics may be a relatively new company, but their work in this subject stretches back to their predecessor, the ATRIAS project. Many of Agility Robotics’ researchers come from ATRIAS, which allowed this new group to utilize mounds of background information to create Cassie’s efficient wonder. They do, however, aim to reach far further than the accomplishments of the ATRIAS project by creating more independent robots that can operate beyond the limits of scientific demonstration.

Cassie has advanced beyond ATRIAS with an altered leg configuration, a human-like 3-degrees-of-freedom hip, and powered ankles. Another goal of Agility Robotics is for the technology of Cassie to make its way into the world of medical prosthetics. The level of interaction between humans and computers is increasing as it is, meaning Cassie’s robotics could play a preeminent role in helping people with missing limbs or movement disabilities. Even though Cassie is a mere prototype, this robot has fantastic potential for assisting humans in all sorts of situations, whether they are as simple as grocery delivery or as imperative as disaster relief.