A robot the size of a small dog can perform a back-flip with same the agility of a champion gymnast.
Dubbed the ‘mini cheetah’, the four-legged automaton is virtually indestructible, according to its creators.
The robot walks at double the speed of an average person and can easily run through bumpy, uneven terrain.
Its has flexible metal limbs that provide stability and flexibility and it can quickly pull itself up with a swing of its ‘elbows’ if it ever falls over.
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A new mini-robot the size of a small dog has the agility of a champion gymnast and can perform a 360-degree backflip. Dubbed the ‘mini cheetah’, it was developed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who say that it is ‘virtually indestructible’
The mini cheetah was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology nd each of its legs is powered by three identical, specially designed low-cost electric motors.
It was created with a modular design, which means each of its motors and other components can be swapped out if they fail or sustain damage.
‘If you wanted to add another arm, you could just add three or four more of these modular motors,’ said lead developer Benjamin Katz, a technical associate at MIT’s department of mechanical engineering.
‘The rate at which it can change forces on the ground is really fast.’
The robot, which weighs just 20 pounds (9kg), can perform its 360-degree backflip from a standing position.
MIT’s initial focus was on making the robot stretch and twist in various, yoga-like configurations, to show its range of motion while maintaining balance.
‘When it’s running, its feet are only on the ground for something like 150 milliseconds at a time, during which a computer tells it to increase the force on the foot, then change it to balance, and then decrease that force really fast to lift up,’ Mr Katz said.
‘So it can do really dynamic stuff, like jump in the air with every step, or run with two feet on the ground at a time. Most robots aren’t capable of doing this, so move much slower.
‘A big part of why we built this robot is that it makes it so easy to experiment and just try crazy things, because the robot is super robust and doesn’t break easily, and if it does break, it’s easy and not very expensive to fix.’
The researchers will present the mini cheetah’s design at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May.
They are currently building more of the inexpensive four-legged machines, aiming for a set of 10, each of which they hope to loan out to other labs.
Mr Katz said that eventually they’re hoping to have a robotic dog race through an obstacle course, where each team controls a mini cheetah with different algorithms so they can see which strategy is most effective.
It has the same agility of a small dog as it has metal robotic limbs that enable it to skip along the grass, and can quickly pull itself up with a swing of its ‘elbows’. The most impressive trick it can perform is a 360-degree backflip from a standing position
WILL YOUR JOB BE TAKEN BY A ROBOT?
A report in November 2017 suggested that physical jobs in predictable environments, including machine-operators and fast-food workers, are the most likely to be replaced by robots.
Management consultancy firm McKinsey, based in New York, focused on the amount of jobs that would be lost to automation, and what professions were most at risk.
The report said collecting and processing data are two other categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines.
This could displace large amounts of labour – for instance, in mortgages, paralegal work, accounting, and back-office transaction processing.
Conversely, jobs in unpredictable environments are least are risk.
The report added: ‘Occupations such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child- and eldercare – will also generally see less automation by 2030, because they are technically difficult to automate and often command relatively lower wages, which makes automation a less attractive business proposition.’