The Kid Should See This

MIT’s electric cheetah-bot runs offleash

Quiet, efficient, and powerful: MIT’s robotic cheetah has a “custom-designed, high-torque-density” electric motor, and can run and jump around without being tethered to an external power source.

It’s also looking to earn its name: as researchers refine the robot’s bio-inspired locomotion — which is hinged on a bounding algorithm for each of the robot’s legs — they hope to increase its speed from 10mph (16kph) to 30mph (48kph). From Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT:

“Many sprinters, like Usain Bolt, don’t cycle their legs really fast,” Kim says. 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.”

Kim says that by adapting a force-based approach, the cheetah-bot is able to handle rougher terrain, such as bounding across a grassy field. In treadmill experiments, the team found that the robot handled slight bumps in its path, maintaining its speed even as it ran over a foam obstacle.

“Most robots are sluggish and heavy, and thus they cannot control force in high-speed situations,” Kim says. “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.”

…And it’s much quieter than Boston Dynamics’ WildCat (shown at 40s): Watch.

In the archives: a bionic kangaroo, sand fleas, a snake robot, a robot penguin, more robot cheetahs, and more robots.

via @m_m_campbell.

🌈 Related videos

Orizuru, a remote controlled origami crane that can fly

Rion Nakaya

Diffusion Choir, a flock of 400 kinetic origami elements

Rion Nakaya

Liquid Printed Pneumatics: 3D printing stretchy silicone structures

Rion Nakaya

MIT Media Lab: ZeroN

Rion Nakaya

What makes that fresh rain smell? MIT films rain drops to find out

Rion Nakaya

Nat & Lo’s 20% Project – Behind the scenes at Google

Rion Nakaya

Karl Sims’ Evolved Virtual Creatures (1994)

Rion Nakaya

Building a soft robotic cube that jumps

Rion Nakaya

Boy gets prosthetic hand made by 3-D printer

Rion Nakaya

Browse the TKSST Video Collections

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.