In what might be considered a nod to DARPA's super-quick sprinting Cheetah robot, another company has created a feline-based legged automaton. Dubbed the Cheetah-Cub, the new creation is the brain child of EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory (Biorob).
The Cheetah-Cub lives up to its name, too. It's the fastest little robot on four legs. Capable of running fast enough to clear seven of its own body lengths in a second, the Cheetah-Cub blew past the competition in a recent benchmark test aimed at robots weighing less than 65 pounds. The robot's gait is a faithful reproduction of the way a common house cat pads around.
"This morphology gives the robot the mechanical properties from which cats benefit, that’s to say a marked running ability and elasticity in the right spots, to ensure stability," explains Biorob scientist Alexander Sprowitz. "The robot is thus naturally more autonomous."
Sprowitz and his colleagues at Biorob see the Cheetah-Cub being used as a mass-deployable search and rescue unit. A quick, compact robot which can search areas large and small for victims of natural disasters. They've got a way to go before their little robot is ready for the field, but the current, corded version is pretty awesome nonetheless. Check out the video below to see it in action.