Small, light, and quick, the cheetah-cub robot is a robust little experiment in robotics and biomechanics from EPFL, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, one of two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. From actu.epfl.ch:
Even though it doesn’t have a head, you can still tell what kind of animal it is: the robot is definitely modeled upon a cat… The purpose of the platform is to encourage research in biomechanics; its particularity is the design of its legs, which make it very fast and stable…
The number of segments – three on each leg – and their proportions are the same as they are on a cat. Springs are used to reproduce tendons, and actuators – small motors that convert energy into movement – are used to replace the muscles.
In the future, the stability and speed of this robot could be key attributes for finding people in search and rescue missions or for exploration of rough terrain.
It’s believed the machine was built 120 years ago in Paris by Blaise Bontems, a well-known maker of bird automata and was recently refurbished by Michael Start over at The House of Automata.
Singing bird boxes were extremely popular in Europe starting from the 18th century, first as a toy for a privileged few and then later as a more affordable item. Watch this video from The British Clockmaker Ray Bates to see how the bird fit in with the box’s innerworkings:
And below, HD video of a singing bird box made by Jaquet-Droz & Leschot, Switzerland circa 1785: