The Robot Cheetah

Sangbae Kim, a robot designer from MIT, is probably best known to Neatorama readers as the inventor of the Stickybot, a robot that can climb walls with feet modeled after a gecko's sticky feet. He also used the idea of scuttling cockroaches for a robot called the iSprawl.
Kim’s latest project is a robot inspired by the cheetah. The idea is build a prototype robot from a lightweight carbon-fiber-foam composite that can run at the cheetah’s speed of 70 miles per hour.

It’s an ambitious project. Current wheeled robots are efficient, but can be slow in rough terrains. For instance, iRobot’s PackBot, which is used by the U.S. military, can only travel at speeds of up to 5.8 miles per hour.

“Most wheeled robots today can do very well on flat surfaces, but they are slow,” says Kim. That’s why he’s looking to the cheetah for ideas. The cheetah has an extremely flexible backbone that gives extra speed or force to its running motion.

The project is expected to take about 18 months. Link

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