MIT Lets Robot Cheetah Off Leash

Hessel Hoogerhuis
June 16th 2015

Robot Cheetah has grown up! Scientists at MIT's Biometrics Robotics Lab have now trained their robo-feline Cheetah to detect obstacles and jump over hurdles as it runs, making it the first four-legged robot able to run and jump autonomously.

"A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior" says Sangbae Kim, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. "You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically designed for those highly dynamic behaviors".

The cheetah's previous greatest accomplishment was that it was able to run untethered. A feat that the robot performed “blind” without the use of cameras or other vision systems, Kim noted.
Now, the robot can “see” thanks to an onboard LIDAR - a visual system that uses reflections from a laser to map terrain. The team developed a three-part algorithm to plan out the robot's path, based on LIDAR data. Both the vision and path-planning system are into the robot, giving it complete autonomous control.

Kim and his team will now work on getting the MIT cheetah to jump over hurdles while running on softer terrain, like a grassy field. They will showcase the cheetah's new abilities at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in June.

Read more at MIT

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Should men be able to give birth to children?

Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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