Waltham, Massachusetts-based Boston Dynamics recently showcased a robot that is capable of running very fast on four legs. Called the Cheetah, the machine broke a record set in 1989, and is now the fastest-running robot of its class in the world.
During a recent series of experiments, scientists managed to make the Cheetah run at a speed of about 18 miles (nearly 29 kilometers) per hour. The previous record was only 13.1 miles (21 kilometers) per hour. The new machine runs in very much the same way an actual cheetah does.
In order to achieve these speeds, the robot is capable of bending its own “spinal cord.” Thus far, it only conducted tethered tests, but experts plan to allow it to run freely on a test field by the end of 2012.
The robot was developed with funds obtained through the Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program, which is financed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency