Cheetah Robot Breaks Land Speed Record For Legged Robots

The picture above is not the robot cheetah because baby cheetahs are cuter than robot cheetahs. Cute > Accurate. This is one of those equations which differentiate blogging from journalism, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Another one of those equations? Booze > Awards < Free Swag < Free Booze. That’s just science.

Boston Dynamics’ “Cheetah” is also science. This DARPA-funded research yielded a cat-like robot which just broke the land speed record for legged robots by running 18 mph on a treadmill. The previous record was 13.1 mph, set at MIT in 1989. As you can see in the video below, it kind of looks like it’s running backwards, but its movements are patterned after real quadrupeds like cheetahs, horses, and dogs. It flexes its back as it runs, unlike most robots which are too busy plotting human carnage to flex their backs. Your back will flex when I kick you in half, robot scum.

Er, anyway, for the test in the video the Cheetah was tethered to the hydraulic pump which powered it and a boom-like device kept it balanced. Boston Dynamics head Marc Raibert says they’ll be testing a free-running version later this year with an internal engine (gas-powered) and software to maneuver in 3D space. But can they teach it to be as cute as a baby cheetah? No. In your lack-of-a-face, robots.

[Sources: IEEE, BusinessWeek, NextBigFuture. Image credit: Nathan Rupert]