MIT’s Mini Cheetah Robot Does Backflips And Will Haunt Your Dreams
MIT has been working on robots going back for years, and with each new generation, the bots get more capable. The MIT Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory has trotted out a new robot that is called the Mini Cheetah, and as the name implies it is a smaller version of the full-size Cheetah robot.
MIT has produced a new video that shows the Mini Cheetah prancing around in a deer-like manner. The larger Cheetah robot has various potential uses, including carrying loads for soldiers or workers out in the field. It might also be used for transporting injured people on a battlefield or disaster situation. Mini Cheetah is too small for that sort of work, but it is exceptionally agile.
MIT says that the Mini Cheetah robot is the first quadruped robot that can do a backflip. The bot weighs in at 20 pounds and has legs that can bend and swing wide allowing it to walk upside down or right side up if flipped over. It's surefooted enough to trot across uneven terrain at a speed about twice the average walking speed of a human. Mini Cheetah can run at up to 2.45 m/s with Convex MPC and needs only half its available actuator torque to do so.
The bot is also able to maintain its balance when kicked or otherwise disturbed. If hit hard enough that it falls over, the bot has self-righting capability as well. While MIT doesn't say how much the robot costs, it claims the bot is "powerful, robust, and inexpensive." We should point out, however, that the video shows Mini Cheetah being remotely controlled; it's not autonomous. The video above is worth a watch to see how fluidly the robot moves, but mostly watch it for the robot bloopers.
With that being said, MIT's Mini Cheetah isn't quite as creepy as Boston Dynamics' SpotMini.