MIT’s Mini Cheetah Robot Does Backflips and Has Animal-like Dexterity
Meet MIT’s Mini Cheetah Robot, the first four-legged robot to do a 360-degree backflip as if it’s competing at the Olympics! Weighing a mere 20 pounds, this super agile quadruped’s dexterity is like that of a real animal with fluidity. It runs, jumps, bends, flips, and swings its legs, and it can walk either right side up or upside down. This tiny beast of a robot has also mastered the cutest little trot at top speeds! The little fella can reportedly trot over uneven terrain about twice as fast as an average person’s walking speed!
Also, super robust and inexpensive to fix, MIT’s Mini Cheetah Robot can take a hit like a champ! When it was deliberately kicked during experimentation, it proved to be resilient. The feisty robot can quickly correct itself with a swift swing of its elbows, which props it back up on all fours. Its most celebrated move, however, is the aforementioned 360-degree backflip from a standing position.
Called “virtually indestructible” by researchers, this robot rebounds with little damage regardless if a backflip causes it to fall over. MIT’s Mini Cheetah Robot gets its impressive range of motion thanks to its legs, which are each powered by three motors. Then add the fact that it has a “lightweight, high-torque, low-inertia design,” which allows for rapid, vigorous maneuvers and blunt impacts on the ground without damaging gearboxes or limbs.
Another key feature of MIT’s Mini Cheetah Robot is its new control system, which allows the four-legged robot to jump across uneven terrain with rapid elevation changes in real-time. To pull this off, the MIT team needed to incorporate vision to avoid gaps. They came up with a state-of-the-art control system that’s split into two parts. The first part processes real-time input from a video camera mounted on the front of the robot. The second translates that information into instructions for how the robot should maneuver its body.
MIT’S Mini Cheetah Robots could open the door to many possibilities, including emergency response missions, or climbing the stairs in order to deliver medications to the elderly.
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