OutRunner robot steered to fast track with Kickstarter
May 12, 2014 by Nancy Owano
A startup in Pensacola, Florida, Robotics Unlimited, is turning to crowdfunding for their remote controlled fast robot called OutRunner. Running along, their robot can move up to 20 mph over different kinds of terrain, from grass and dirt to asphalt, all the while self-balancing, stable and efficient. The team is now trying to raise money to fund its production. The company defines its OutRunner as a biologically inspired robot that emulates running. The robots emulate the behavior of legged animals by reproducing their step pattern and having a similar mass / length distribution.
The company promotes the robot as simple to operate; just press the accelerator, they said, and steer the robot where you want it to go. Their Kickstarter page offers the OutRunner in two versions, Core and Performance. Core is the version for use if you just want to play around with the robot, according to the team. The Core version, with six legs, is 1.5 foot tall and weighs a little bit less than three pounds. Estimated delivery date is July 2015 for the two Core versions..
OutRunner Performance, slightly taller than two feet, weighs about five pounds. This is a more powerful version; consider this the racing model, going up to 20 mph, with up to two hours of battery performance. The Performance version comes with 12 legs but will be able to run with 6, 8, 10 or 12 legs, your choice, said the team. The robot has a Universal Camera Mount (camera not included,1/4" thread). Sensor data and video are live-streamed on a smartphone via WiFi. Estimated delivery date is July 2015.
The fundraising goal of $150,000 will help the team finish the design and get the first produced units out. They said they are now in the final stage of development and are turning to crowdfunding to finalize design and set up manufacturing facilities. "Currently, we are proud to be designing and manufacturing the OutRunner in the United States and hope to keep it this way. We have already identified some manufacturers to help us ramp up our production."
Robotics Unlimited is a spinoff of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). Part of the IHMC robotics team has been working on how to make a robotic system capable of running while maintaining stability. This team at Robotics Unlimited said that while research robots are machines focused on lab experiments, Robotics Unlimited's founder wanted to have a robot easy to operate, relatively low cost to build but still providing amazing running capability. "After several months of thinking, testing and prototyping, OutRunner was born." While they want to see people have fun, they said, "what's really motivating us is to create a community of robotics enthusiasts that breathe and share the same passion. For a long time, the founder of Robotics Unlimited had something in mind to this end: organizing the world's first competition of running robots. We will try to set up this event by the end of 2015 or closely after."
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