March 6, 2012
A warning for anyone who imagines a Skynet-ruled world of robot domination: Don’t watch the video below. Or if you do, prepare for nightmares of being chased at 18-miles an hour by a gas-powered steely automaton.
Boston Dynamics, a Waltham, Massachusetts technology firm and DARPA contractor, announced Monday that it’s broken the speed record for legged robots. Its new four-legged creation is Cheetah, which can run at 18 miles an hour, far faster than the 13.1 miles per hour record set by MIT in 1989.
When I spoke with Boston Dynamics ten months ago, the company’s president Marc Raibert told me the firm was building a four-legged robot that would run at 20 mph by late 2012. It seems to be ahead of schedule. As well as hitting that 20 mph mark, the company also aims to take Cheetah out of the lab and onto other terrains. “While 18 mph is a good start, our goal is to get Cheetah running much faster and outdoors,” reads a statement from Boston Dynamics’ chief roboticist Alfred Rizzi. “We designed the treadmill to go over 50 mph, but we plan to get off the treadmill and into the field as soon as possible. We really want to understand the limits of what is possible for fast-moving robots.”
This article was posted: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 4:07 am