MIT’s Robotic Cheetah!
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has designed a Cheetah robot that can run up to speeds at 10 miles per hour. Videos revealed online of the four-legged creature running from one end of the lawn to the other at a consistent speed were an eye-catching sight. One should say that the MIT researchers have made significant advancement in robotic research and have expressed confidence to increase speeds and simulate more-likeness in the future.
The brain space behind the creation of the cheetah-inspired robot is the Biomimetics lab. Extensive research is conducted in this lab in areas like achieving high torque density actuator, biotensegrity structure and optimal swing-leg retraction which are stepping stones to the development of the highly robust robot. Enthusiastic researchers are already making promising statements about the future potential of such robots with even faster speeds for real time use.
At the moment the robot is capable to run up to 10 mph. Real cheetahs cover up to 60 mph. Researchers are very keen in improvising the current version of the robot to reach up to 30 mph, which would be in par with the cheetah-bot made by Boston Dynamics. This cheetah robot is also equipped to jump over obstacles up to 1 foot high or 33 centimeters.
Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT said, “We can even make new transportation, replacing cars so that you don’t need the road in our world”.
“Once I know how long my leg is on the ground and how long my body is in the air, I know how much force I need to apply to compensate for the gravitational force,” added Kim. “Now we’re able to control bounding at many speeds. And to jump, we can, say, triple the force, as it jumps over obstacles.”
“Our robot can be silent and as efficient as animals. The only things you hear are the feet hitting the ground,” said Kim. For efficient functioning, the Cheetah robot uses custom electric motor to propel it forward and further to jump over obstacles. When compared to electric motors that is used in other robots which are louder and heavier, this electric motor is light weight and efficient that offers better performance.
In addition to the enthusiasm of the researchers, a blog site user commented on the robots usability saying, “Rescue missions where sending human personal could be dangerous. Think of people trapped in narrow places where sending in personal could be problematic. They could be used for look out missions when searching for missing persons on extensive territories, just let lose a couple of these on every direction carrying food and water, and an inbuilt radio, and you can track them back easily…given they don’t run out of energy first.”