At just over eighteen miles-per-hour, DARPA’s funded and Boston Dynamic’s newest animal-based robot, the Cheetah, is the world’s fastest bot and can run with the likes of Usain Bolt and a couple of other extraordinarily talented freaks of Olympic nature.
One of the most fearsome and suspenseful characters in Ray Bradbury’s masterpiece Fahrenheit 451 is the fireman’s ultimate weapon: their artificially intelligent robotic dog. This creature is made to run down any transgressors trying to escape from a book hoarding crime scene in a future where books are outlawed and ruthlessly burned by the fire department.
That robot is armed with poisoned needles, but is animal-like in all ways as it runs deftly and extremely fast on all fours and can leap and pounce on people trying to escape its clutches. Boston Dynamic’s Cheetah bot might be the result of reading these passages, though they are not trying to hunt people…YET!
The goal is to improve on the sluggish top speed of today’s free-standing robots, so that rocky or uneven planes that restrict wheeled bots from traversing across are no longer a problem. Currently the freestanding robots can go from about five to ten miles-per-hour maximum with excellent balance but slow speed . . . that is until the Cheetah is unleashed.
Right now, the researchers, led by Dr. Alfred Rizzibeast, have a work in progress, though they have achieved a remarkably articulated spinal section of a back that makes the Cheetah adept for walking or running on rough terrain. On a treadmill it is running at eighteen miles-per-hour, but the engineers are having trouble fitting a powerful enough battery in the small space available to have it running free just yet.
The researchers estimate they will have the Cheetah free and on its own soaring near top human speeds by the end of the year. And Boston Dynamic hopes to create an ostrich that can function similarly and possibly break the thirty mph mark in the next couple of decades. The future is here!