DAEJEON, South Korea, May 30 (UPI) -- Luckily for Usain Bolt, robots aren't allowed to compete for gold medals. If they were, the new Velociraptor robot designed by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, might force Bolt to settle for silver -- or bronze if Raptor's robotic rival Cheetah raced, too.
The new sprinting robot, Raptor, currently tops out at 28.5 mph. Bolt's highest clocked speed is 27.44 mph. The Raptor is nearly as fast as Cheetah, the robot that first beat Bolt's record speed and which maxes out at 29.3 mph.
Cheetah -- the robot, not the animal, which is said to regularly hit 59 mph -- and Raptor are a contrast in engineering styles. Cheetah is big and bulky, whereas Raptor, named so for its likeness to the ancient dino speed demon, the velociraptor, is lightweight and lithe.
Raptor's impressive speed is enabled by its two rapid-fire metal legs, each outfitted with a shock absorbing Achilles tendon-like component and carbon-epoxy composite blades, which act as all-in-one legs-calves-feet. The whole operation is balanced by a weighted, spinning tail.
Though Cheetah currently has Raptor beat, when Boston Dynamics first unveiled Cheetah, it was only sprinting at 18 mph. If Raptor can be re-calibrated toward a more efficient sprint, there may be a new 100 meter champion.