Sprinting Robotic Cheetah – A Successful Example of Bounding Algorithm
Speed is not the first thing that comes to your mind when you say ‘Robot’ but the latest invention of a sprinting robotic Cheetah might just change that particular stereotype regarding robots. Designed and built by the researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the robot is nowhere as fast as its wild counterparts though it has been clocked in at a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour (16km/h).The robot has been designed in such a way that it moves like a real-life cheetah with moving its legs in tandem i.e. moving the back legs together with the front ones.
Movement of the RobotImage Courtesy: tumblr.com/Technology
This pattern of movement known as bounding and to get the four legged machine to run like the real cheetah, the team of researchers at MIT created an algorithm that can control the amount of force exerted by each leg of the robot. This bounding algorithm was quite important for the researchers since it gave them a greater degree of control over the force exerted by the legs to control the speed of the robotic cheetah. "Many sprinters, like Usain Bolt, don't cycle their legs really fast. They actually increase their stride by pushing downward harder and increasing their ground force," said Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, who helped develop the cheetah bot. By the adoption of this new force-based technique to control as well as increase the speed of the robot, the researchers got what they required to build a robot that could handle rough terrains.
Stealth RobotImage Courtesy: tumblr.com/Technology
This robotic cheetah with its sprinting ability has also got the capability to jump over the obstacles in its path. It was able to jump over 30cm foam obstacles in the treadmill experiments but the coolest thing regarding this robot is how noise less it is compared to other four legged bots. As compared to other robots which are powered by gasoline engines, this robotic cheetah carries out its movements with the help of battery powered electric motors which do not make much noise even. Though the US-military has been trying for several years to make a stealthy and fast robot, it hadn't been successful until now so this DARPA funded research by the MIT researchers may just open a whole new vision regarding the making of a stealthier bot.