Quadruped robot does a backflip

Quadruped robot does a backflip

A new mini-robot the size of a small dog has the agility of a champion gymnast and can perform a 360-degree backflip. If it falls, it can get back up, and the range of motion its legs have combined with excellent balance means it can navigate just about any type of terrain.

The flexible quadruped runs faster than an average human walks; it swings and bends like a yogi and uses its rotating limbs to maintain ideal balance.

"I want to be able to pick up the robot and toss it, and just have it land on its feet", lead developer Ben Katz told MIT News. Each of its four legs are powered by three cheap electric motors. Atlas - the headless humanoid star of Boston Dynamics' viral robot videos - has not only been performing backflips, but doing so after a series of complicated box jumps that the machine surmounts easily.

Reached by e mail, Benjamin Katz, a technical affiliate in MIT's Division of Mechanical Engineering who helped design the robotic, wrote that the backflip isn't "inherently helpful" however gives researchers a method to gauge the machine's capabilities.

MIT researchers have developed a new Mini Cheetah that is capable of a number of moves, including backflips.

The former looks like a polished robot-dog which can open doors, carry heavy loads while the latter - a humanoid - nails backflips and leaps over hurdles swiftly.

Katz said: "We thought it would be a good test of robot performance, because it takes a lot of power, torque, and there are huge impacts at the end of a flip".

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At only 20 pounds, it can walk either right side up or upside down.

"The first time we tried it, it miraculously worked", Katz says.

MIT's original Cheetah robot weighs around 40Kg and can easily perform activities ranging from running at high speeds and jumping onto desks to climbing obstacle-laden stairs.

"This is super exciting", Kim adds.

The quadruped was constructed as a research project. They are building more Mini Cheetahs in order to loan them out to other research labs.

Until more such robots hit campuses across the USA, we invite you to have a look at the scary machine MIT built, so you have an idea of how the enemy looks like. They are now working on a landing controller so that the robot would be able to steadily land on its feet after a big throw.

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