Monday, April 2, 2012

Robot Cheetah: No Head, but Really Fast

"Robotic cheetah 'breaks speed record for legged robots' "
(March 6, 2012)

(from Darpa, via BBC News, used w/o permission)
"Footage of the robot in action - courtesy Darpa"

"A headless robot dubbed 'Cheetah' has set a new world speed record, according to its owners.

"The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said the four-legged machine achieved 18mph (29km/h) on a laboratory treadmill.

"The agency said the previous land speed record by a legged robot was 13.1mph.

"Darpa said that the project was part of efforts to develop robots designed to 'more effectively assist war fighters across a greater range of missions'.

"Darpa - which is run by the Pentagon - funded the Massachusetts robotics company Boston Dynamics to build the machine.

" 'We plan to get off the treadmill and into the field as soon as possible,' said the firm's chief robotics scientist, Alfred Rizzi, in a statement.

" 'We really want to understand what is possible for fast-moving robots.'..."

There's quite a range of options for how to react to this news from DARPA. We have the occasionally-technophobic thing we see in the movies and novels:Real robots turned out to be - well, let's be honest here. They're useful, but incredibly stupid:On the other hand, quite a few folks are trying to develop robots that can interact smoothly with humans:"ASIMO Serves First FCX Clarity Customers"

Honda, YouTube (June 27, 2008)
video, 3:11

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