Around the world innovation

The New ‘Cheetah’ Beats Obstacles

And without any visual aid. 

It’s almost here. The MIT-developed robot Cheetah is now being developed in a spectacular third edition that has proven to be superior to any previous ones. The new version should be able to traverse up stairs and over obstacles without the help of either camera or visual sensors. It opens, among other things, for the robot to be used to investigate environments that are difficult, dirty or dangerous to people, says MIT News. This could be useful in a number of different scenarios, including being weaponized in geopolitical conflicts and for various other needs in exploration. But sending it up a volcano is perhaps too early at this stage. The explanatory video below shows the concept in a way that words cannot.

Cheetah will have visual aids, but should not be dependent on these to get out. It can essentially run, jump and climb. This third edition looks more than promising and as for the automation itself – it has been described to have intelligent feelings meaning that it feels around the environment and makes an attempt to figure out the best way forward, regardless whether an obstacle exists or not. A special contact detection algorithm helps Cheetah decide when to take a step, pull a leg or swing it. Another algorithm helps Cheetah regain the balance if it is exposed to a kick. The new version of Cheetah can also extend backwards and forwards, turning side to side. Is it really the complete package? It’s a promising third edition, but a lot remains to be seen. What are its real-life applications given that science-fiction would just make us assume that it’s used just for “being cool” but that really couldn’t be more far from the case. 

According to EnGadget, “MIT doesn’t expect robots to rely exclusively on this technology. Most likely, it would be used as a backup for moments when a robot either can’t see properly or hits an obstacle it wasn’t expecting (say, something interfering with its hind legs). That could make it useful for power plant inspections, remote rescues and other dangerous situations where there’s no help if a robot gets stuck or falls over.” [Source – EnGadget]

“There are many unexpected behaviors that the robot should be able to handle without being too prone to the view. The view may be noisy, partly wrong and sometimes not available, and if you need a little too much on your eyes, your robot must be very accurate in its position and will then be slow. We want the robot to rely more on tactile information. This way, it can handle unexpected obstacles as it moves fast, ” says Sangbae Kim, MIT’s Mechanical Engineering, the designer of Cheetah. 

Cheetah 3 will finally be presented at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots in Madrid in October so we will have to await further functions and specific details when it premiers on the Red Carpet for Tech. 

Evolvera – always changing, always evolving. 


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