They Could already open Doorways, traverse steep flights of stairs, Operate at high speed and unload your Own Dishwasher.
Now, for the first time , a robot that was budding has performed a physical accomplishment that evades all but the most athletic among us: a backflip.
The canine-like machine – dubbed”Mini Cheetah” – is also able to trot over uneven terrain roughly twice as fast as an ordinary individual’s walking pace, researchers say.
Reached by email, Benjamin Katz, a technical partner in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering who helped design the robot,” wrote that the backflip is not”inherently useful,” but offers researchers a way to gauge the machine’s capabilities.
“It’s also a fantastic stress-test of this hardware,” he said. “It entails quite high torque, power, and acceleration capability, and has a high-speed impact at the end, all which are very harsh on the robot’s mechanical components”
Mini Cheetah is powered by 12 electric motors that allow the machine to bend and swing its legs. Every one of the robot four legs is powered by three individual motors which engineers added to raise the machine’s range of motion and help it change direction and create”high-force affects” without breaking its own limbs, researchers say. As a video released by MIT shows, the robot was programmed to quickly recover from an unexpected force, including a kick to the side.
Possessing a generous range of motion and having the ability to adapt to different surfaces will probably be crucial components for four-legged robots which are set up by humans at some point, researchers say.
“Legged robots will have a variety of applications where individual or animallike freedom is necessary (climbing over stairs, rocks, etc.) but it could be unsafe to send a person: search and rescue, inspection, surveillance and so forth,” Katz wrote.
Mini Cheetah isn’t the first robot to execute a backflip. Atlas – the headless humanoid star of Boston Dynamics’ viral robot movies – has not only been performing backflips, but doing so after a set of complicated box jumps the machine surmounts effortlessly.
In the last few years, the same company has produced a run of four-legged robots – with names such as Spot, Wildcat and BigDog – that can open doors, carry heavy loads and run almost 20 mph.
This past year, Boston Dynamics creator Marc Raibert told an audience in Germany his staff is testing the company’s awkward, four-legged, doglike robot, SpotMini, to be used in a number of industries, including security, delivery, construction and home aid. The company states that the 66-pound machine is 2 feet 9 inches tall and is the quietest of the organization’s robots. It runs on electricity, has 17 joints and will go for 90 minutes on a single charge.
MIT researchers have their own plans for their newest four-legged creation.
“Finally, I’m hoping we could have a robotic dog race through an obstacle course, where each team controls a mini cheetah using different calculations, and we could see which strategy is more successful,” Sangbae Kim, associate professor of mechanical engineering told MIT News. “That’s the best way to speed up research.”