If you wanted to make a robot walk over unpredictable terrain, you could experiment with different robotic designs, or you could take the easy way out and look to nature for a solution. In this case, robotic engineers in France got their inspiration for a walking robot by modeling it after a house cat.
According to scientists in the International Journal of Robotics Research, the cheetah-cub is the fastest in its category of small quadruped robots under 30 kilograms, running almost seven times its body length in one second in a laboratory trial.
The cheetah-cub robot can auto-stabilize when running at full speed over a course that included a small set of stairs. The researchers noted that the robot is light, compact and assembled from cheap, common materials.
In particular, they designed the robot´s leg based on detailed observations and construction of an actual feline leg. Each leg has three sections with proportions that are the same as a cat´s natural leg segments. Springs are used to replicate tendons, and small motors replace the cat muscles.
Undoubtedly the cats of the world will demand royalties for robots based on cat anatomy, but until this happens, look for your favorite walking robot to mimic a walking cat in the future.