Hardcore Parkour (With Robots)

Engineers at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrate the agility of their new robot RHex.

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In 1954, George Devol created the first modern robot, programmable and digitally operated. In 1988, 15-year-old Frenchman David Belle created the sport of Parkour. And in 2013, the University of Pennsylvania created RHex, the Parkour Robot. Built as an all-terrain walking robot, RHex is designed to climb, jump, and spring over a multitude of harsh surfaces. Its builders hope that one day RHex may be sophisticated enough “to climb over rubble in a rescue mission or cross the desert with environmental sensors strapped to its back.” Its six legs allow the robot to execute some fairly impressive moves, including flips, double jumps, and even a pull up. In this film, producer Kurtis Sensenig let RHex loose, following him with cameras as he leaps, runs, and pulls his way through the campuses most formidable terrain. Completely self-aware in its own hilarity, the movie was shot with the same stylistic slow motion, multi-angle shots as a human parkour film.

The YouTube channel of the University of Pennsylvania is the perennial champion of online robotics movies and was previously featured on The Atlantic for their incredible video of robot quadrotors performing the James Bond theme song.

 

To see all their hits, including Robot Boats Rescue Mission and Robots Playing Hockey at Penn visit http://www.youtube.com/user/UnivPennsylvania.

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Paul Rosenfeld writes and produces for Atlantic Video. His work has also appeared on The Daily Beast and CNN.com.

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