Oregon State University's Dynamic Robotics Laboratory has built a bipedal robot that could revolutionize disaster relief technology.

The robot, named ATRIAS, will be competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) robotics challenge in hopes of winning a $2 million challenge prize. In the challenge, the robot will respond to a simulated industrial disaster.

ATRIAS can walk and run like a human, and consumed only a fraction of the power of other biped robots, allowing it to have and impressive battery life. The robot can perform quick maneuvers thanks to its unusual mechanical design.

"Robots don't typically have such spindly legs, such tiny feet, or big springs attached to their motors. But those springs absorb and recycle energy that would be ordinarily lost with every step. The lightweight shins and thighs reduce shock loads when its legs swing and hit the ground. Like a high-end sports car, all of ATRIAS' mechanisms are designed and tuned to cooperate with each other and enable maximum performance," the Dynamic Robotics Laboratory wrote on the ATRIUS website.

The researchers are still making improvements to the robot in preparation for the contest, that will take place in three months' time. In a recent video, the Robotics team chucked dodge balls at ATRIUS to test its resilience and balance.


A video of the robot's first walk was also posted today.