MIT Robot Cheetah Is Now Without A Leash

September 15, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

MIT robot cheetah

The MIT robot cheetah is no Usain Bolt, but has the potential to come in handy to the U.S. military, doctors and first aid workers.

MIT researchers have been able to create a robotic cheetah that they hope will be used by the U.S. military, but thus far it is just a cool toy roaming around on campus.

Sangbae Kim who is part of the group behind the project, explained that when the robotic cheetah was first created, it could only run on a treadmill, but now it is off its leash.

The 70-pound robot can move about 10 miles per hour, but the team from the Biomimetics Robotics Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is determined to get it going at 30 miles per hour.

The cheetah-bot, which functions independently for two hours can jump over obstacles that are more than a foot tall.

The four-legged machine, which does not really look like a cheetah, is very quiet and is powered by gasoline engines.

Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, who has been working on the cheetah robot for over a year explained that they studied real cheetahs that can hit 60 mph. He said:

“The general goal of our lab is to understand the locomotion aspect of animals.Recently we are focusing on quadrupeds, or four-legged animals, and we try to understand how they efficiently run in the field and nature.”

Kim also revealed why he believes that they will be able to create one of the fastest robots in the world. The researcher added:

“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.”

The MIT scientist says that robot cheetah will be useful in many sectors, including the military, which is sponsoring the project through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The robot can replace humans in places hit by natural disasters for recovery missions, doctors will study it for a more efficient understanding on how to better create artificial limbs.

A cool video of the MIT robot cheetah running wild and free on campus is below. Professor Sangbae Kim also appears to give more information on the topic.

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