MIT Cheetah II robot hurdles obstacles with easeBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 29 May 2015 | Categories: news
In their race to outdo the efforts of Boston Dynamics' Spot (four-legged-robot), DARPA-funded MIT researchers and engineers have just released footage of their Cheetah II robot hurdling objects with relative ease.
Pulling off a running jump (for humans and robots like) is a rather daunting task, as it requires a number of responsive algorithms to perform just so. Luckily the engineers at MIT seem to have nailed it, as the necessary balancing and energy distribution mechanics have been calculated correctly. In order to carry out the feat, researchers at MIT installed a LIDAR sensor to the front of the Cheetah II. It works in the same way that sensors fitted to self-driving cars do, and allows the Cheetah to analyse an object as it approaches it. For now, the Cheetah II can hurdle objects 40 cm high at roughly 2.4 m/s, but MIT plans to improve on those numbers in coming months.
Having watched the video a few times now, the Cheetah II seems pretty adept. Our one concern is the landing, with the hind legs in particular struggling to keep up speed once the Cheetah II gets all four legs back on the ground. While it may not have the same level of fluidity as its namesake, the Cheetah II is definitely stepping things up.
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