What you are seeing here is MABEL, a special project at the University of Michigan’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and it is the “fastest bipedal robot with knees”.
How fast can it go? It’s top speed is 6.8 miles per hour, and that is on a flat, circular track. The speed is pretty good, and it is due to a “human-like weight distribution”.
You can watch a video of it after the jump, and I can tell you that no special effects were used in the filming. I wouldn’t have minded if they had used a greenscreen to make the rod invisible.
Man, I would love to get my Lego set out and try and replicate this bipedal robot. The reason the University of Michigan is working on a robot like this is because they want to develop a pair of robot legs to help the disabled walk again. They also want to create a robot that can handle all terrains, like the walking robots in Star Wars.
This definitely looks like a scene from a science-fiction movie. I can’t help but think of the ED-209 robot from Robocop when I see this. I believe the ED-209 was much slower. I suppose that the advanced MABEL will be able to descend stairs better than the ED-209.