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MIT Cheetah Robot Lands the Running Jump

By MIT News

June 5, 2015

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A robotic cheetah built by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers is now the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.

The team reports the robot has successfully cleared obstacles up to 18 inches tall, which are more than half of its own height, at an average running speed of five miles per hour.

The robot uses a three-part algorithm to plan its path based on data from a visual system. The first component of the algorithm enables the robot to detect an obstacle and estimate its size and distance. The second component allows the cheetah to adjust its approach while nearing the obstacle, and the third determines its jumping trajectory.

MIT professor Sangbae Kim calls the running jump a truly dynamic behavior. "You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing," he says.

Kim's team will demonstrate the cheetah's running jump at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Robotics Challenge this weekend.

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