Robots are cool and a lot of research is going into the design and development of new robots all around the world. Many of the top universities around the globe have competitions to see who can build robots that are the best at one thing or another. Some of the things that the robots are able to do in these contests are very impressive. The Cornell Biorobotics and Locomotion lab has a cool robot called Ranger that we have talked about before.
The last time we talked about the Ranger robot was in July of 2010 when it was able to walk 14.3-miles on a single charge to beat a distance record. The Cornell team is back this year with an updated version of Ranger that was again attempting to set a distance record. The new Ranger started walking around an oval track at the university at about 2 p.m. May 1 and then stopped walking when the battery went dead at 9 p.m. May 2. Ranger walked for 30 hours, 49 minutes, and 2 seconds.
Ranger made 307.75 laps around the track at a 1.3 mph walking speed. The total distance the bot walked was 40.5 miles around the Barton Hall track. Faculty and students took shifts walking with Ranger to steer it around the track. The 14.3-mile record Ranger set last year was obliterated and the battery on the robot didn’t need to be charged or touched for the entire distance walked. The Cornell Team points out that at the Osaka, Japan robot marathon the robots were repeatedly recharged.