Robot Ranger sets new 'walking' record at 14.3 miles

Jul 20, 2010
Robot Ranger sets 'walking' record at 14.3 miles
The robot Ranger, which set an untethered walking record in Barton Hall.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A Cornell robot named Ranger has traveled 14.3 miles in about 11 hours, setting an unofficial world record at Cornell's Barton Hall on the morning of July 6. A human -- armed with nothing more than a standard toy remote control -- steered the untethered robot.

Ranger navigated 108.5 times around the Barton Hall indoor track -- about 212 meters per lap -- and made about 70,000 steps before it had to stop and recharge. The 14.3-mile record beats the former world record set by Boston Dynamics' BigDog, which had claimed the record at 12.8 miles.

A group of engineering students led by Andy Ruina, Cornell professor of theoretical and applied mechanics, announced the robotic record July 9 at the Dynamic Walking 2010 meeting in Cambridge, Mass. Ruina leads the Biorobotics and Locomotion Laboratory at Cornell. The research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Previously, students in Ruina's lab set a record for a walking untethered in April 2008, when Ranger strode about 5.6 miles around the Barton Hall track. Boston Dynamics' BigDog subsequently beat that record.

One goal for robotic research is to show off the machine's . Unlike other walking robots that use motors to control every movement, the Ranger appears more relaxed and in a way emulates human walking, using gravity and momentum to help swing its legs forward.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Previous attempts. The Cornell Ranger robot just kept going and going April 3, 2008, when it set an unofficial world record by walking nonstop for 45 laps -- a little over 9 kilometers or 5.6 miles -- around the Barton Hall running track.

Standing still, the robot looks a bit like a tall sawhorse, and its gait suggests a human on crutches, alternately swinging forward two outside legs and then two inside ones. There are no knees, but its feet can be flipped up and out of the way while it swings its legs so that the can finish its step.

Ruina says that this record not only advances robotics, but helps undergraduate students learn about the mechanics of walking. The information could be applied to rehabilitation, prosthetics for humans and improving athletic performance.

Explore further: A robot dives into search for Malaysian Airlines flight

Related Stories

Monkey's Thoughts Make Robot Walk from Across the Globe

Jan 17, 2008

In a first-of-its-kind experiment, the brain activity of a monkey has been used to control the real-time walking patterns of a robot halfway around the world, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Organized chaos gets robots going (Update)

Jan 17, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Even simple insects can generate quite different movement patterns with their six legs. The animal uses various gaits depending on whether it crawls uphill or downhill, slowly or fast. Scientists ...

Recommended for you

A robot dives into search for Malaysian Airlines flight

Apr 18, 2014

In the hunt for signs of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370—which disappeared on March 8 after deviating for unknown reasons from its scheduled flight path—all eyes today turn to a company that got its start ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

Apr 16, 2014

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Students turn $250 wheelchair into geo-positioning robot

Apr 16, 2014

Talk about your Craigslist finds! A team of student employees at The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Systems Management and Production Center (SMAP) combined inspiration with innovation to make a $250 ...

Using robots to study evolution

Apr 14, 2014

A new paper by OIST's Neural Computation Unit has demonstrated the usefulness of robots in studying evolution. Published in PLOS ONE, Stefan Elfwing, a researcher in Professor Kenji Doya's Unit, has succes ...

User comments : 10

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

frukc
1 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2010
and then what? RC operatior got to boooored or batteries ran low? crap, not a achievement.
Eric_B
5 / 5 (2) Jul 20, 2010
boring...
BigDog would kick it's ass!
http://www.youtub...zBcnX1Ww
FullyAutoMagic
not rated yet Jul 20, 2010
People, this is an experiment based on size. If you wanted to make a 45 ton version of this that can crush small cities under it's metal hooves you could, but the point is that it's the minimal environmental expenditure towards the maximum mechanical efficiency.
plasticpower
4.5 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2010
I don't see this walking up hills and navigating rough terrain. The article makes efficiency comparisons to big dog. Yeah, the two are apples and oranges, but the big dog can navigate almost any terrain, including ice. It has practical applications. This guy, while a cool technology demonstrator and a very nice school project, doesn't look like it can travel on gravel, let alone rocky inclined surfaces. But still, it's nice for learning something about how we walk.
Birger
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
I suppose this is a "proof of concept" test....walking on a flat surface is only meaningful if it is the first stage of testing in increasingly complex terrain.
Bascule
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
Why is it an 'unofficial world record'? Is there some official robotics authority keeping tabs of records?

LariAnn
1 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2010
Big Dog could certainly clean this robot's clock! But as small as this one is, why not attach a small solar panel that would trickle-charge the batteries on the go? Then it could set a REAL record for distance walking.
El_Nose
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
THere are plenty of good places where it is relatively flat and this is emmensely useful such as plains of the moon.

Robotics is getting to be awesome -- the closer we approach human dexterity of hands -- plus locomotion the less expensive exploration missions become because most of the cost involved goes towards human safety and concerns, such as the need for food, air, sanitation, comfort and most of all training. Eliminating these costs and sending human remote controlled robots to build out structures, and manufacture energy generating devices before we send a human is awesome.

On the dark side almost 1000 factory workers will be replaced by 10 electrical engineers and an army of Johnny 5's.
FullyAutoMagic
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
Read the article and the point of the experiment before you go off claiming "I saw these transforming cars last summer that could clean this things clock, totally!"
Noumenon
5 / 5 (44) Jul 25, 2010
Why is it an 'unofficial world record'? Is there some official robotics authority keeping tabs of records?


No, they just can't ignore that the Japanese are light years ahead in this area.

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...