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This bird-like robot could one day be used in search and rescue missions

This bird-like robot could one day be used in search and rescue missions

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There's a bird-like robot roaming the University of Michigan's campus.

The robot, dubbed Cassie, was loosely designed based on the cassowary, which is a flightless bird that bears a remarkable resemblance to an ostrich.

Jessy Grizzle, the director of Michigan Robotics, and his team are hoping Cassie, when paired with their research, will one day be able to assist with search and rescue missions.

After purchasing Cassie, which was developed by the Oregon-based Agility Robotics, Grizzle and his team decided to put their cutting-edge algorithms to the test.

"The Cassie robot is a pretty big step up in terms of the type of hardware that we've had available in the lab for evaluating our mathematics," Grizzle said.

Other universities are using similar models of the robot, but when Cassie's design is paired with the University of Michigan's mathematics, the biped is able to walk on rough, uneven terrain without assistance.

But that's not to say Grizzle, his team and Cassie haven't faced some missteps along the way. In fact, during their first evaluation of Cassie's capabilities, she took quite the tumble.

"When @UMRobotics says they're going to stress test your robot design, take them seriously," Agility Robotics tweeted after seeing video of Cassie's fall. "I guess we build strong?"

That tumble, however, didn't stop the two-legged robot, which gives Grizzle and his team more confidence that Cassie could one day have real-world applications.

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"The mathematics that we're testing on Cassie is going to lead to very interesting robots that can join search and rescue teams and help them go into areas where they maybe would not want to send a human," Grizzle added.

As for now, Grizzle and his team will continue their research with the help of Cassie.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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