MIT researchers have created the Mini Cheetah, a smaller, 20-pound version of the Cheetah 3. The four-legged Mini Cheetah can do, among other things, a backflip.
While it tops out at 5.5 miles per hour, the team recently put the robot through the paces on campus. The time of the year seems fitting as it performed many of the same agility drills that athletes are going through at the NFL combine. There’s the shuttle run, sprint, and 3-cone drills — just without the cones. And of course, they kick it. Stop kicking the robots; one day, they're going to be so pissed.
They kick it, sweep the leg, and then — after about 15 seconds of abuse and foreshadowing the fall of man — they finally kick it over so you can watch it reset, roll and stand up. Really, it's incredibly impressive.
Next, the researchers threw the Cheetah to test its ability to land, and then it performed a few backflips for the crowd. The one woman was impressed anyways.
According to the researchers, each leg is powered by three motors, which provide a large range of motion, and the high-torque, low-inertia design allows the robot to execute fast, dynamic maneuvers and make high-force impacts on the ground without breaking gearboxes or limbs.
Next, the team will work on a more agile and even more cat-like robot. Essentially, they want the robot to land on its feet no matter how hard or far you throw this thing.
I’m also impressed that the team showed off some project failures. Man, I can watch those all day.