Published: Tue, March 05, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

MIT Mini Cheetah Robot Can Jump Backwards And Trot

MIT Mini Cheetah Robot Can Jump Backwards And Trot

The Mini Cheetah weighs around 9 kg and can walk on its four legs. Its party trick is performing a 360-degree backflip, but the robot's speed and agility are its most impressive features.

The mini cheetah is "virtually indestructible" according to the research team at MIT, but also designed like Lego so as to be cheap and quick to fix.

Considering its predecessor was built to be used for surveillance or manage its way around in rescue missions, we can assume the Mini Cheetah will see the same fate in the future and, if that proves to be the case, such a skill would be priceless.

The flexible quadruped runs faster than an average human walks; it swings and bends like a yogi and uses its rotating limbs to maintain flawless balance.

MIT is now making more of these Mini Cheetah robots, and plans to have a set of 10 to show off at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May.

Each of the robot's legs is powered by three low-priced electric motors that the researchers engineered using off-the-shelf parts. The Mini Cheetah robot's design will be showcased at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, in May this year.

According to Benjamin Katz, a technical associate in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering, by making the mini cheetah so hard-wearing and cheap to fix, it allows for experimentation.

"In Cheetah 3, everything is super integrated, so if you want to change something, you have to do a ton of redesign", Katz says. By using three motors per leg, the robot benefits from three degrees of freedom and a much greater range of motion. The robot's joints are capable of spinning three times faster, with twice the amount of torque, and Katz estimates the robot could run about twice as fast with a little tuning.

If they, as well as places like Boston Dynamics, can make less menacing and practical robots like the Mini Cheetah, perhaps the uprising won't be too bad.

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