MIT's Biomimetics Robotics department took a whole herd of its new 'mini cheetah' robots out for a group demonstration on campus recently – and the result is an adorable, impressive display of the current state of robotic technology in action.
The school's students are seen coordinating the actions of 9 of the dog-sized robots running through a range of activities, including coordinated movements, doing flips, springing in slow motion from under piles of fall leaves, and even playing soccer.
The mini cheetah weights just 20 lbs, and its design was revealed for the first time earlier this year by a team of robot developers working at MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering. The mini cheetah is a shrunk-down version of the Cheetah 3, a much larger and more expensive to produce robot that is far less light on its feet, and not quite so customizable.
The mini cheetah was designed for Lego-like assembly using off-the-shelf part, as well as durability and relative low cost. It can walk both right-side up, and upside down, and its most impressive ability just might be the way it can manage a full backflip from a stand-still. It can also run at a speed of up to 5 miles per hour.
Researchers working on the robot set out to build a team of them after demonstrating that first version back in May, and are now working with other teams at MIT to loan them out for additional research.