Untethered Cheetah Robot Runs and Jumps Outdoors With New Bounding Algorithm


MIT's four-legged cheetah robot features a custom-designed, high-torque-density electric motor controlled by amplifiers. The combination of such special electric motors and custom-designed, bio-inspired legs allow force control on the ground without relying on delicate force sensors on the feet. MIT researchers have now developed an algorithm for bounding that they've successfully implemented in their cheetah-bot. The team recently took the robot for a test run on MIT's Killian Court, where it bounded across the grass at a steady pace. The researchers estimate that the current version of the robot may eventually reach speeds of up to 30 mph. The key to the bounding algorithm is in programming each of the robot's legs to exert a certain amount of force in the split second during which it hits the ground, in order to maintain a given speed - in general, the faster the desired speed, the more force must be applied to propel the robot forward.