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Watch: Robotic cheetah can run – and bound over obstacles

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Posted at 9:54 PM, Sep 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-19 21:57:12-04

Researchers at MIT have developed a battery-powered robotic cheetah that not only can run on its own, but leap as well.

In treadmill tests they found the robot could bound over objects in its path, while maintaining a steady speed, according to MIT News

Their work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Similar four-legged robots have run on noisy gasoline motors, but the MIT group’s is nearly silent.

The act of running can be parsed into a number of biomechanically distinct gaits, from trotting and cantering to more dynamic bounding and galloping. In bounding, an animal’s front legs hit the ground together, followed by its hind legs, similar to the way that rabbits hop — a relatively simple gait that the researchers chose to model first.

“Bounding is like an entry-level high-speed gait, and galloping is the ultimate gait,” Kim says. “Once you get bounding, you can easily split the two legs and get galloping.”