This robotic cheetah can run and jump over obstacles, completely untethered at speeds of up to 10mph, and may be able to run up to speeds of 30pmh when fully developed.
Researchers from MIT have developed a new algorithm that allows the robot to bound around a running track and in open spaces at the Institute.
The cheetah is able to jump due to the programming of each of its legs to exert a certain amount of force at the time the legs hit the ground.
Sangbae Kim, a professor at the institute, said: “Most robots are sluggish and heavy, and thus they cannot control force in high-speed situations,”
“That’s what makes the MIT cheetah so special: You can actually control the force profile for a very short period of time, followed by a hefty impact with the ground, which makes it more stable, agile, and dynamic.”
What makes the robot different, say the researchers, is the high-torque-density electric motor.
This is combined with special electric motors and bio-inspired legs that allow the force control on the ground, without needing sensors on the feet.
The cheetah was originally developed last year when it was tested on a treadmill and was able to run continuously for an hour and a half at 5mph.
The Institute is not the only organisation to be researching untethered robotics that are based on animals and the way that they move.
Google-owned Boston Dynamics has their Big Dog robot which is able to run at 4mph, climb slopes up to 35 degrees, walk across rubble and other uneven surfaces and is able to carry a load of 340lbs.
A cheetah was picked by the MIT researchers as their studies found that its movement efficiency was around the same of a human.
Kim said that the robot was designed to jump and run in much the same way as professional athletes do.
“Many sprinters, like Usain Bolt, don’t cycle their legs really fast. They actually increase their stride length by pushing downward harder and increasing their ground force, so they can fly more while keeping the same frequency.”
“Our robot can be silent and as efficient as animals. The only things you hear are the feet hitting the ground.
“This is kind of a new paradigm where we’re controlling force in a highly dynamic situation. Any legged robot should be able to do this in the future.”
Images and video courtesy of MIT