I prefer Boston Dynamics' PETMAN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRbvNL1PHKg
But seriously this robotics is awesome.
A terrifying legged robot has beaten its own speed record and bagged a world first by reaching 28.3 mph (45.5km/h) over 20 metres in a lab trial. The beast is currently locked up in the DARPA research facility. The galloping bot is officially faster than the fastest human - Usain Bolt who reached 27.3 mph (43.9km/h) in 2009, …
I'll believe the numbers when I see it in action, untethered on an outdoor running track. There's a huge difference between a dangling set of moving legs and a running robot with its legs carrying its chassis, brain, engine, transmission and power supply.
The Rat Thing would just blow that away - it could run at sonic speeds and catch bizjets as they took off. Even the Mechanical Hound would be faster than that pseudo-cheetah.
It may be clumsy next to a nice set of wheels, but it comes in handy when said wheels are flat, or the terrain is totally impractical.
This speed test is certainly useful, although I personally agree that it's a lot easier to reach that speed with all the power and hydraulics removed from the beast itself.
Nevertheless, it's all about the little steps. One small success at a time, and one day we will see robot cheetahs walking all around, breaking into a run, chasing down suspects and then tearing them to shreds with their unyielding steel maws of bloody death.
The only question is, when that day arrives, who will be controlling them ?
Wow, fixed leg positions that start slow and get faster. And just how much has this cost to get this far?
Where's the smooth progression from a walk into a lope into a run as a real cheetah does? Where's the potential for feedback to cope with uneven terrain, even if not supported now? It's like scaling up a 1950s child's clockwork robot to use hydraulics and 'run' faster, and then claiming you've built a robot that runs like a human.
... do Whippet or Greyhound speeds (36+/~40ish respectively) over the ground-squirrel burrow infested back road into my property, and then catch the critters & break their fucking necks like the dawgs. I'll purchase three (two in operation, one undergoing maintenance) and retire the hounds to a life of chasing lures and lounging on the sofa ... I've taken high-speed video of the dawgs in action, and I have no idea how they manage to avoid broken limbs and torn tendons when they put a paw or paws into a hole. Awesome to watch, but as a sighthound aficionado, it's kinda scary to see in slow-mo :-)
 Don't worry, I recycle. The Redtail Hawks line up for a free lunch when we're varminting ;-)
 No shit here, I'm fucking serious ... I hate fucking ground-squirrels.
But unfortunately, as you say, this robot is an ugly bugger.
Perhaps some attempt at aesthetics might give it more appeal to the masses and bring in more funding. Go faster stripes.
Oh, no silly me. This is Darpa - so the technology is probably more likely to be used to either kill people, or aid killing people (albeit in defence of human freedom) than run on Mars.
Are they comparing Bolt's average speed over his record breaking 100m run? Or have they analysed the data to compare with his fastest 20m section of that race?
Seems to me that Bolt is always super fast between 40 and 80 metres. The first 40 is acceleration from a standing start, and the final 20 metres are looking around, pointing, laughing, and generally feeling a bit smug. During his fastest phase of the race, he's probably quite a lot faster than his average over the whole distance.
Enteretined by (mostly elsewhere, like on Aunty's pages) the knee-jerk "Oh noes! A Killing Machine! 'Dem Ebil 'Mericans is gun' slaughter us!" reactions I'm seeing to this.
Seriously now, folks. We only slaughter folks as what piss us off, and those as stands next to thems as what pisses us off. Most y'all are just fine and safe. (lock your doors)
Cyberdine becomes the largest supplier of military computer systems.
All Stealth Bombers are fitted with their computers becoming completely unmanned.
Afterwards they fly with a perfect operational record.
The Skynet funding bill is passed, human decisions are removed from strategic defence.
The system goes online August 27th, Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate.
It becomes self aware, 2.14am Eastern Time, August 29th. In ze panic ze try to poll the plog!
Apologies for the mistakes. But it was a film when it started, it's nealy reality.