Meet OutRunner — a sleek star-shaped robot you can use to mercilessly hunt down your friends. It's the world's first remotely controlled legged running robot that's commercially available to the public.
The remarkable device, which was developed by Pensacola, Florida's Robotics Unlimited, is capable of self-balancing, reaching speeds around 20 mph (32 kph) on almost any type of terrain, and has two hours of battery life.
It's simple to operate and upgradeable. OutRunner can be equipped with a camera, and controlled with a remote or smartphone over WiFi.
OutRunner comes in two versions, Core and Performance, the latter being packed with state-of-the-art sensors and other features. The specs are as follows:
And here are some design samples:
Robotics Unlimited describes how it works:
Well, as you will see in our video, OutRunner robots are biologically-inspired; they emulate the behavior of legged animals by reproducing their step pattern and having a similar mass / length distribution. By having a center of mass lower than the leg axis of rotation, OutRunner robots exploit a buoyancy effect, making them inherently stable and eliminating the need for expensive sensors and complex control algorithms. Energy efficiency is achieved by exploiting the same feature observed in legged animals; using legs as an energy storage system allows for fluctuation and conservation (and not losses) of potential and kinetic energy during running. Steering is achieved by shifting the center of mass of the robot, forcing it to lean to one side, which in result induces a turn (similarly to what happens on a bicycle). These are the basic concepts behind the OutRunner robot; and even if there is much more going on, the robot takes care of it for you so that the only thing you have to worry about is to have fun with it!
The company has brought OutRunner to the alpha stage of development, but claim that, "We are few steps away from bringing this robot to you, and this is where we need you." To that end, they've launched a Kickstarter campaign (where you can also see price scales).
Images: Robotics Unlimited