SCIENCE
09/16/2014 10:06 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This Cheetah Robot Runs Like A Real Animal, Will Likely Haunt Your Dreams

If the thought of a large robot running straight at you freaks you out, here's one video you might want to miss. It shows a robotic cheetah that can almost run like the real thing.

The cheetah bot isn't new, but according to a written statement released by MIT, the researchers behind its development have devised an algorithm that allows their creation not just to run at speeds of up to 10 mph but also to jump over obstacles -- all without being tethered to anything.

Here it is in action:
robot cheetah

Eventually MIT's cheetah robot should reach speeds of up to 30 mph, the researchers say. That's faster than legendary sprinter Usain Bolt.

The cheetah robot, which is funded by the U.S. military, is still a work-in-progress. But the researchers say it's already steps ahead of many of its competitors.

Unlike some quadruped robots, MIT's revised cheetah doesn't need to be tethered to a power source. And thanks to the new algorithm -- which causes each of the robot’s legs to exert just the right amount of force at the right time -- the robot no longer needs external support.

“Most robots are sluggish and heavy, and thus they cannot control force in high-speed situations,” Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the university, said in the statement. "That’s what makes the MIT cheetah so special: [With the new algorithm] you can actually control the force profile for a very short period of time, followed by a hefty impact with the ground, which makes it more stable, agile, and dynamic.”

And maybe a bit scary.

As a recent Gizmodo article about MIT's revised cheetah bot put it, "Yep, it's time to start getting seriously concerned."

Watch this video to learn more about MIT's robotic cheetah:

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