Robot 'cheetah' sets speed record

Sept. 7, 2012 at 4:50 PM

BOSTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A robot "cheetah" has set a speed record by running faster than the fastest human, a Boston company developing it for the U.S. Defense Department says.

Boston Dynamics said its four-legged robot reached 28.3 mph while running on a treadmill as part of a project for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

That's faster than Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, who set the land-speed record for a human in 2009, running 27.7 mph in the 100-meters final of the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, NewScientist.com reported.

"Our Cheetah bot borrows ideas from nature's design to inform stride patterns, flexing and unflexing of parts like the back, placement of limbs and stability," Gill Pratt, Darpa program manager, said.

"What we gain through Cheetah and related research efforts are technological building blocks that create possibilities for a whole range of robots suited to future Department of Defense missions."

Boston Dynamics said it is developing an outdoor version of the Cheetah, dubbed Wildcat, and will begin testing it next year.

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