Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers reported that they had developed an algorithm and successfully implemented it in a robotic Cheetah. This slim robot has four legs, gears, batteries and electric motors, weighs 31 kilograms and is 0.7 meter long. It’s not small, and it’s not only lightweight but can also move fast and with high jumps.
In few of the tests, it was found that that the robot was clearing 33 centimeter obstacles at ten mph. However, the key feature of this algorithm is in the programming of each of its leg to exert a certain amount of force in order to maintain an estimated speed of 30 mph.
Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, hypothesizes that this force-control approach to robotic running is similar, in principle, to the way world-class sprinters race. “Most robots are sluggish and heavy, and thus they cannot control power in high-speed situations, that’s what makes the MIT cheetah so special: You can actually control the force profile for a very short period of time, followed by a hefty impact with the ground, which makes it more stable, agile, and ,” Kim says.
Researchers also revealed the forced based approach make the cheetah-bot can handle rougher terrain, such as bounding across a grassy field. The robot can handle slight bumps in its path and maintain its speed as it runs over a foam obstacle. This robot is dynamic because of its custom design, bio –inspired legs which allow force control, high-torque-density electric motor, designed by Jeffrey Lang, the Vitesse Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT. These Motors are designed by David Otten, a principal research engineer in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics, which are controlled by amplifiers.
The research will be officially presented by Hae-Won Park, Meng Yee (Michael) Chuah, and Sangbae Kim from MIT at IROS on Tuesday in Chicago.