Cassie is all legs and no torso.

A team of engineers from Oregon State University unveiled a new walking robot called Cassie today.

Bipedal robots aren’t easy to make. Footage of robots trying to walk and toppling over abound, but Cassie looks far more balanced.

Funded by a $1 million, 16-month grant from DARPA, the experimental research arm of the Department of Defense, the robot’s makers recently spun off from the university to create their own robotics company, Agility Robotics.

Agility says it already has a small number of customers. The idea behind Cassie is to develop the robot to make home deliveries, a problem that a handful of other robotics companies are also trying to figure out, albeit with much less complicated designs.

Starship Technologies, for example, has a ground-based delivery robot that’s already making supervised rounds. But its robot isn’t trying to walk; it’s basically an autonomous rover that can navigate sidewalks.

Cassie is the predecessor of a robot named ATRIAS, which was designed by some of the same roboticists at Oregon State University. Two years ago, ATRIAS was the subject of a popular video in which the legged robot was pelted with dodgeballs to test its balance.

But Cassie is supposedly more efficient than ATRIAS, in that its motors offer a greater degree of freedom in its hip joints, according to IEEE Spectrum, which makes the robot more steerable and gives it a larger range of motion. Cassie also has motored ankles to help make it even sturdier.

Watch ATRIAS attempt to stay balanced in a one-sided game of dodgeball:

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Author: April Glaser

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