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A Robot That Runs Like a Cat

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The four-legged, high-speed robot that runs like a cat.

The "cheetah-cub" robot has very fast and stable legs, and will serve as a platform for research on locomotion and biomechanics.

Credit: Gulf Times

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne's (EPFL) Biorobotics Laboratory (Biorob) have developed a cheetah-cub robot that will serve as a platform for research in locomotion and biomechanics.

The researchers say robots developed from this model, which has very fast and stable legs, could be used in search and rescue missions or for exploration.

During testing, the robot demonstrated the ability to run nearly seven times its body length in one second. The robot also has excellent auto-stabilizaton characteristics when running at full speed or over a course that includes disturbances such as small steps. In addition, the robot is extremely light, compact, and robust, and can be assembled from inexpensive materials.

"This morphology gives the robot the mechanical properties from which cats benefit, that’s to say a marked running ability and elasticity in the right spots, to ensure stability," says Biorob researcher Alexander Sprowitz.

The invention is the next step in robotic locomotion after the EPFL's salamander robot and lamprey robot, notes Biorob director Auke Ijspeert. "It’s still in the experimental stages, but the long-term goal of the cheetah-cub robot is to be able to develop fast, agile, grounded machines for use in exploration," Ijspeert says.

From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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