The word “robot” originates from Slavic language as robota, which referred to forced labor among the peasantry. Since then, however, the term has moved away from humans and instead is used in reference of actual machinery. In 1920, Czech writer Karel Čapek presented a play, titled R.U.R., whereby the actual term “robot” was first applied as a means of describing machine-based labor.

Since then, robots have fascinated the minds of sci-fi writers and engineers alike. Which brings us to Cassie – the next generation of bipedal robots devised by Oregon State University’s Agility Robotics. Cassie originates from its predecessor ATRIAS. The problem that researchers kept stumbling over when developing ATRIAS was that it contained motors which worked against each other.

As a result, this left the robot in being completely inefficient. Cassie, on the other hand, contains steering, feet, and a sealed system, allowing it be both agile and robust.

It was built “with a 16-month, $1 million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense,” according to OSU. Originally the research was being conducted by OSU, which then evolved into a brand new company known as Agility Robotics. After seeing monumental growth and success in the creation of Cassie, OSU has since announced that it will become a founding academic partner with the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Innovation Hub located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


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