Funded by the Pentagon’s research arm, a robot inspired by the world’s fastest animal is being developed to run and jump with unprecedented robotic balance and instincts, all with the aim of using it in hostile environments or search and rescue missions.
The robot cheetah has evolved, thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), after five years of rigorous testing and ingenuitive uses of existing technology.
MIT’s cheetah – which runs on batteries to achieve speeds over 10 miles per hour (mph), jumps as high as 16 inches gallops of at least 15 minutes – runs on 12 lightweight motors supplied with electric power and uses an algorithm that decides the precise amount of force a leg should exert while maneuvering. An internal computer sifts the data from the robot’s many sensors and then commands the motors in accordance.
According to RT, Kim said the robot cheetah was developed using designs of other technologies, from all-terrain wheelchairs and vehicles that can traverse rough ground to Xbox controllers used for maneuvering. He said the researchers hope the 70-pound cheetah will eventually be able to execute search and rescue missions or enter environments that humans cannot.
“In the next 10 years, our goal is we are trying to make this robot to save a life,” Kim said.
The MIT robot is reminiscent of similar projects developed by Boston Dynamics, including the ‘WildCat”.
The MIT and Boston Dynamics robots are all funded by the US Department of Defense’s research affiliate, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.