The Planar Elliptical Runner, A Clever Two-Legged Robot That Can Run 12 mph on a Treadmill

Planar Elliptical Runner

Engineers at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Florida have developed the Planar Elliptical Runner, a clever two-legged robot that can run approximately 12 mph on a treadmill. IHMC also released footage of the Planar Elliptical Runner sprinting in slow motion and a look at the annual Robotics Open House hosted at the Levin Center for IHMC Research.

The Planar Elliptical Runner is a running robot that can run about 12 miles per hour on a treadmill. It is sandwiched between two plates of glass, which keep it in the sagittal plane. It cannot turn or tip sideways, but it can tip forward/backward and fall down. The robot is “open loop stable”. There is only 1 motor driving the legs. There are no sensors or computers on board. An RC car radio controller determines how much power to apply to the motor. Give the robot more power and it runs faster. Less power and it runs slower. In simulation we are exploring how to extend this concept to 3D running. Initial simulations are showing promising results.