Run like a cheetah, jump like a cheetah and be smooth like a cheetah. The MIT Cheetah robot that is, which is now reported to perform jumps over obstacles as high as 15 inches, at a speed of 10 miles per hour.
Truth be told, the nature model of the Cheetah is far more agile. That does not stop anyone from being amazed at the abilities of the new version of the Cheetah robot which is able to perform these tasks autonomously.
It is the first robot that has this capability, which is encouraging for the MIT team to further develop the model.
The Cheetah which for those who haven’t been introduced to it so far, is a quadrupedal robot, is also untethered. The MIT team developed three algorithms that enable their creation to run and jump over obstacles.
Firstly, it is worth noting that the Cheetah robot features a 2D laser rangefinder or a LIDAR that allows it to detect any obstacle on its path. Afterwards, it can calculate the height of the obstacle and the distance to it.
Based on these calculation the robot adjust the stride length to allow it to accurately jump over the said obstacle. Lastly, it is able to calculate the force needed in both the front and the back legs to jump over the obstacle without knocking it down.
A quite interesting thing is that the Cheetah is able to perform the jump not only with objects that are perfectly aligned, but also if they are found at more peculiar angles. The adjustment in calculations takes 100 milliseconds.
Pretty neat for a robot that is expected to react to quick changes in the environment, especially at a speed of 10 miles per hour.
Image Source: BostonMagazine