/

Running and jumping, a giant leap for robots

MIT researchers have trained their robot, Cheetah, to recognise and jump over hurdles as it runs along – a first for robot technology.

To do that, Cheetah has to make the same calculations that a human hurdler does, estimating the object’s height and distance, and applying the right amount of force to land safely, before resuming its initial pace.

“A running jump is a truly dynamic behaviour,” says Sangbae Kim, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically designed for those highly dynamic behaviours.”

For Cheetah to accomplish the feat, the team developed a three-part algorithm to plan out the robot’s path, based on LIDAR data. Both the vision and path-planning system are onboard the robot, giving it complete autonomous control.

 

Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

Read science facts, not fiction...

There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.