When MIT wanted to create a robot that could run, they didn’t model their creation after a human since that would involve too much balancing on two legs. Instead, they modeled their robot after a cat. Specifically after a cheetah since a cheetah can run quickly.
Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-funded Cheetah, this robotic cheetah can leap over walls 18 inches tall – more than half its own height – and run as fast as 22 kilometers per hour (13mph).
“A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior,” explained Sangbae Kim, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically designed for those highly dynamic behaviors.”