back to article MIT boffins cry havoc and let slip the ROBOT CHEETAHS of Whoa

MIT roboticists in the US have exhibited a robo-cheetah that will run and bound across the landscape without the need for a power cord. Youtube video The big cat bot is of particular interest to robotics scientists since it's the fastest quadruped found in nature. The US government's secret-squirrel science nerve-center DARPA …

  1. Chris G

    Flexible spine

    I had always thought the key to Cheetah speed and movement was the flexibility and energy storage properties of its spine and sinews in the back, The MIT beast looks extremely rigid and although I know they are talking about 'stamping' harder to achieve lift and time off the ground, it sounds intuitively inefficient energy wise.

    The flexible spine is also a key to agility in the natural world, for the kind of super fast rough and tumble moves a cheetah uses in hunting without flexibility in the spine means finding alternatives ways to stabilise at the legs making them more complex and potentially weaker.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: Flexible spine

      Weird. That was precisely what I was thinking when I watched the clip. At the moment the thing is more like a stiff doggie than a cheatah.

      Which brings me to my question: do robot dogs leave electric turds?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        do robot dogs leave electric turds?

        and do they dream of electric sheep?

    2. Eddy Ito

      Re: Flexible spine

      That's what bugged the hell out of me during the video! The motion isn't natural at all and certainly isn't cheetah like. It's a combination of force and the real cats flexibility that greatly assists in achieving its long, as in 4+ body lengths, stride. I also recall reading somewhere that the tail also acts as a counterbalance during high speed maneuvers which allow the hairpin turns to be taken at speed. It seems clear that it needs an additional two parts gumby, one in the spine and another in the tail.

      1. Thorne

        Re: Flexible spine

        Cheetah isn't the right name for it. Fat pug with a bad back might seem closer........

      2. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: Flexible spine

        I guess the 'cheetah' reference is more apt because it can "sprint" for only a short length of time before running out of battery. Still quite impressive. And do you REALLY want them to add a flexi-spine and tail and up teh speed so they could actually hunt people down??

        1. drewsup

          Re: Flexible spine

          Meh.. While its chasing you make a quick buttonhook turn to the left, kill shot to the battery pack. Next....

  2. ian 22

    @inventor of the ML (TLDW)

    Upvote for the Philip K. Dick reference.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @inventor of the ML (TLDW)

      I'm also getting (literary) flashbacks to some of Walter Jon Williams stuff - "Voice of the Whirlwind" perhaps? The back story is that corporate mercenaries have been fighting on space stations and underground tunnels in other planets and it all goes (even more) pear shaped when the bio-weapons and cybernetic wolves are deployed...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @inventor of the ML (TLDW)

      But no one mentioned the Bladerunner. Pistorius can run in the next Olympics if he hasn't a lengthy sentence.

  3. Cpt Blue Bear

    Hear that, Darl?

    Meh. I miss the screaming two-stroke engines their previous efforts used.

  4. J__M__M

    I enjoy these little progress reports on the technology that will no doubt hunt down and kill me some day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ technology that will no doubt hunt down and kill me some day.

      in full compliance with the then current legal framework on escalation measures against certain obstructive / avoidance activities initiated by certain anti-social elements against the administration of their daily prescribed dose of mandatory sedatives.

    2. Francis Boyle

      Yes, but at least

      the Google version will show you a selection of the worlds funniest ads before you die.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it do corners?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, it's American.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      iCheetah ?

  6. hammarbtyp

    I'll get the popcorn

    Who like me, would like to see a deep blue like challenge of one of these against Usain Bolt?

    Even better one of these hunting down Usain Bolt (Nothing against the guy, lovely bloke. I have just watched too many terminator movies.)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see this and I'm amazed and then I realize how far we still have to go. Your whole body runs on about 100W, I'd bet 100W wouldn't even run one of the legs on this robot. Animals also carry around a complex energy extraction system as well. Evolution has done a really good job and it's going to take us a long time to get close I think.

    1. TriathlonMan

      Re: 100W

      Athletes exert much more than 100W, especially when sprinting. Top cyclists can produce over 1500W when sprinting, or average over 200W over a stage of the Tour de France.

  8. Breen Whitman

    If you drop your mobile phone in water, put it in a plastic bag with some rice and leave it in a cupboard overnight. In the dark Asians will emerge looking for rice. They will also fix your electronics and build you a robot animal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only if you attend..

      MIT. The Asians live in the walls there.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get back to me when

    It can SWIM. Then I will no longer be able to kill it with a garden hose...

    (And yes, I'll wear insulated gloves so it doesn't electrocute me as I'm giving it a bath)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cheetah my arse! That's a cyberdog if ever I saw one

      "I'll wear insulated gloves so it doesn't electrocute me as I'm giving it a bath"

      The problem is that master and pet relationship soon reverses. "Daddy created him for good, but he's turned out evil." as they say in Lancashire.

      1. Chris G

        Re: Cheetah my arse! That's a cyberdog if ever I saw one

        I'll bet the final product will be IP69 rated at least,(I think that's NEMA 6P in overpondian)

        However, I think I may have a go at knocking up an Argentinian Gaucho bolas with some large lead fishing weights and a few yards of aircraft cable, see how it runs with its legs tied up!

        1. Dan Paul

          Re: Cheetah my arse! That's a cyberdog if ever I saw one

          It will never be submersible, the best rating it will get is IP65 or Nema 4, 4X.

          Add taser elements to that bolo and it will likely take it down.

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