FastRunner is a new bipedal platform inspired from the fastest biped animals, and developed at IHMC. A novel leg design is being developed to enable FastRunner to achieve unprecedented efficiency and speed while being self-stabilizing. The FastRunner project is funded by the DARPA agency through the Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program.

The Team

The FastRunner project is led by IHMC under the supervision of Dr. Jerry Pratt. His team is currently designing, simulating and building the FastRunner using physics-based control approaches. As a subcontractor, a team from the MIT, led by Pr. Russ Tedrake, is also involved in this project by developing robust non-linear control approaches. The FastRunner team has extensive knowledge and experience in the design, construction, control, and optimization of legged and other underactuated systems.

Objectives and Progress:

The goals of the first phase of this project will focus on running only in the sagittal plane. The milestones include:

  • Demonstrating feasibility with a physically realistic simulation of FastRunner running at 20mph on flat ground and running at 10mph on a moderately rough terrain.
  • Single leg prototype with performance matching simulation results and demonstrating that the full robot design is feasible.
  • Full planar FastRunner capable of running at 20 mph.


  • Fast: FastRunner is reaching 22mph from stop in less than 6s.
  • Efficient: FastRunner has a cost of transport about 1.3 while running at 20mph.
  • Self-Stabilizing: The running cycle is stable without global state control feedback. FastRunner recovers from small step down disturbances and is capable of running over gentle slopes.


  • 70% of the mechanical design is completed.
  • One full scale leg has been machined with rapid prototyping techniques.

Open Source Simulation:

One of the important aspects of this project is to release an open source simulation of the FastRunner. Instructions and multi-platform downloads are provided through the following link: Source Code

Mechanical Design:

The current mechanical design progress and SolidWorks files can be found here: Mechanical Design Files

Research Projects:

Past Projects:

IHMC Research Team:

  • Jerry Pratt, Research Scientist, IHMC Team leader
  • Sebastien Cotton, Research Scientist, Project Manager
  • Ionut Olaru, Research Associate
  • Jonhny Godowski, Research Associate
  • Jerryll Noorden, Research Associate
  • Chris Schmidt Wetekam, Research Scientist
  • Nick Payton, Research Associate
  • Matt Bellman, Graduate Student Intern
  • Colton Black, Undergraduate Student Intern
  • Julie Brown, Undergraduate Student Intern
  • Andreas Dias, Undergraduate Student Intern
  • Jeremy Gines, Undergraduate Student Intern
  • Nick Oren, Graduate Student Intern
  • Brandon Pennington, Undergraduate Student Intern
  • Matthew Rosen, Graduate Student Intern
  • Tim van der Ven, Graduate Student Intern

MIT Research Team:

  • Russ Tedrake, Associate Professor, MIT Team leader
  • Ian Manchester, Research Scientist working on Controls
  • Frank Permenter, Graduate student working on Controls
  • Michael Posa, Graduate student working on Controls
  • Hongkai Dai, Graduate student working on Controls
  • Paula Countouris, Undergraduate student working Mechanical Design
  • Ryuma Niiyama, Postdoc on Mechanical Design