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New advances in robot locomotion are taking their cues from some very old animals.
Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have created a bipedal robot inspired by the velociraptor.
“The raptor, as it’s called, has been clocked at 28 miles an hour on a treadmill. Look at that thing go. That’s faster than Olympic record holder Usain Bolt, the fastest known human.” (Via WINK)
Instead of claws, the robot stands and runs on a set of carbon composite legs. It even has springs that act as tendons to recapture energy with each step it takes. (Via Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)
IEEE Spectrum explains that just like the real raptor, the robot can use an optional tail to increase its stability and more easily handle obstacles.
But while the raptor is already fast enough to run down any human it might develop a taste for, it’s not quite the fastest thing on robotic legs.
That honor still goes to Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah, a four-legged cat-based robot that has clocked 29.2 miles an hour in the lab.
Human-style robotic runners haven’t managed to keep up. A robotic set of legs from the University of Michigan called Mabel has the gait down, but tops out at 6.8 miles per hour.
In the meantime, the researchers working on the Raptor want to improve its stability at high speeds and eventually cut the cable and let it run free.