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"Tallahassee Cassie" is a Robotic High-Stepper

Tom Flanigan

The Capital City’s namesake robot, “Tallahassee Cassie,” is now among the best-balanced robots on earth. Cassie was built by Agility Robotics and programmed  by the Optimal Robotics Lab at the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering. That's where Dr. Christian Hubicki is a professor and he said the machine can keep its feet even when the unexpected happens.

“In fact, we just got a result where we told the robot to balance on a box; one foot on the box and one foot off the box, sort of like Captain Morgan,” he quipped. “We ripped away the box and Cassie just stomped and saved itself, all within a fraction of a second.”

Hubicki said Cassie also has the unique capability of walking on various kinds of surfaces without the need for advance programming.

“Imagine if you had to step into a carpeted office, but you had to know exactly how plush that carpeting was before you could walk on it,” he offered by way of comparison to the way humans automatically compensate when walking around. “That would make your life a lot more complicated. It’s the same thing for robots. So we have to make sure that our robots can walk on things that they can’t necessarily see coming, but can keep their balance anyway.”

Hubicki showed off Cassie’s talents to members of the Leon County Research and Development Authority on October 11th.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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