Here is the robot Cheetah that can run on batteries at speeds of more than 10 mph, jump about 16 inches high, land safely and continue galloping for at least 15 minutes.
This Cheetah Robot is the creation of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who had to design key elements from scratch because of a lack of or shortcomings in existing technology. That includes powerful, lightweight motors, electronics that control power for its 12 motors and an algorithm that determines the amount of force a leg should exert during the split second that it spends on the ground while running. That’s the key to helping the robot maintain balance and forward momentum.
The key to the bounding algorithm is in programming each of the robot’s legs to exert a certain amount of force in the split second during which it hits the ground, in order to maintain a given speed: In general, the faster the desired speed, the more force must be applied to propel the robot forward. In experiments the robot sprinted up to 10 mph and MIT researchers estimate the robot may eventually reach speeds of up to 30 mph.
The MIT Cheetah 2 contains the custom electric motor designed by Jeffrey Lang, the Vitesse Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT and the amplifier designed by David Otten, a principal research engineer in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.
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Still, researchers continue to tweak their prototype, looking to add additional sensors that would eventually make the robot autonomous.