Robot Ranger sets new 'walking' record at 14.3 miles

July 20th, 2010 in Technology / Robotics
Robot Ranger sets 'walking' record at 14.3 miles
The robot Ranger, which set an untethered walking record in Barton Hall.


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.

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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.

Provided by Cornell University

"Robot Ranger sets new 'walking' record at 14.3 miles." July 20th, 2010. http://phys.org/news198866224.html