The MIT researchers have developed a cheetah robot that can run more gracefully and efficiently across a grass field and can even do hurdles. The cheetah-like robot is equipped with gears, batteries and electric motors, weighing about as much as its biological counterpart.
The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world with a potential of covering 60kph in a couple of seconds. When first tested on a treadmill, the cheetah robot could reach speeds of 10 miles per hour, and the researchers think that it could eventually run at a good clip of 30 mph.
Though, MIT’s cheetah robot does not reach the speeds of the actual super-fast spotted feline, it’s still pretty interesting. It runs on a battery, which makes it move more quietly than other quadruped robots powered by gasoline engine. “The only sound heard from MIT’s cheetah is when their feet hit the ground,” says Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the MIT.
If the four-legged robot can indeed achieve those speeds, it could potentially give Olympic Sprinter Usain Bolt, who’s been clocked hitting 28 miles per hour, a run for his money. However, the robot is a champion- it can clear hurdles, jumping over obstacles up to 1.08 feet and still run at the same speed.
The trick that the researchers used, lies in the running algorithm. A rolling robot will spin its wheels faster in order to increase its speed. But that’s not the way MIT’s robot works. Instead of moving its legs faster and faster, the four-legged robot puts more force into each step, so each stride takes it a little farther in the same time.
Heavy running robots typically don’t balance themselves very well at high speeds, but MIT’s cheetah can balance itself while navigating rougher terrains without lowering its speed or falling to the ground.
The project which was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research projects Agency, is on display at the 2014 IEEE/RSJ International conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems meeting in Chicago.
Via: MIT News