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Once again fictional science inspires real science, as DARPA takes a page right out of Metal Gear Solid and Japanese animes. Research conducted at MIT and the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Congition  is helping deliver a bipedal robot strongly resembling an ostrich to the DoD

This robot, dubbed FastRunner by DARPA, can currently achieve speeds of up to 27mph, but newer prototypes will be able to run as fast as 50mph. Having legs obviously gives a few advantages over wheels, allowingt for better handling of inhospitable terrain and even stairs if it comes down to that.  These robotic legs consist of a single motor peg-leg, a locking knee and spring that stores and releases kinetic energy to work together with the battery and make it last longer. These legs do not require extra energy to carry weight, so there is very little doubt that the FastRunner will be outfitted with sophisticated equipment that makes use of its speed and terrain adaptability in the future, most likely for intelligence-related purposes. 

Remember Boston Dynamics' Big Dog, Little Dog and cheetah bot? DARPA and the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition have both taken part in their development. It seems like development of biomimicked robotics is the current direction DARPA is heading in. 

Written by: Denis Ivanov

Source: popsci.com
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