MIT has been working on its Cheetah robot for years, showing how it can run fast, change its gait mid-stride, and so on — but this latest achievement might be the the most impressive. The robot can now make flying leaps over obstacles as high as 15 inches. Doesn't sound like much, sure, but you try designing a robot that runs and jumps like a big cat.
The MIT project aims to build a "high-speed locomotion platform" with the fastest land animal as its inspiration. Of course, the robot Cheetah is not quite as lithe or deadly as the real thing, but it's quick and light — rival quadrupedal robots BigDog and Spot are more likely to plow through obstacles than vault over them.
MIT's Cheetah is the first such robot to autonomously jump over obstacles like this, but likely not the last. In the meantime, the team at the Biomimetics Lab is working to further expand the capabilities of this fearsome robo-creature.