We already have robots that can run, jump and even do parkour. Now, thanks to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we now have a four-legged robot that can perform a back flip as impressive as any trained human athlete.
The Mini Cheetah, which vaguely resembles a robot dog, is capable of performing a 360-degree back flip from a standing position on command and even right itself with a “kung-fu-like swing of its elbows” when it is kicked to the ground. According to a press release by MIT, it weighs a mere 9 kg (20 pounds) and can walk on rough terrain with twice the walking speed of an average person. The Mini Cheetah is powered by 12 electric motors that enable it to bend and swing its legs.
“A big part of why we built this robot is that it makes it so easy to experiment and just try crazy things,” lead developer Benjamin Katz said. “Because the robot is super robust and doesn’t break easily, and if it does break, it’s easy and not very expensive to fix.”
The team behind the creation is planning to build multiple copies of the robot and lend them to other research groups.
Sangbae Kim, associate professor of mechanical engineering, who worked on the robot said, “Eventually, I’m hoping we could have a robotic dog race through an obstacle course, where each team controls a mini cheetah with different algorithms, and we can see which strategy is more effective.