Cheetah, the robot of MIT, knows how to make somersaults

With their robot named Cheetah, the MIT engineers never cease to amaze us. After being able to jump over obstacles and climb a staircase littered with debris, he now performs backslides. And with a certain style, please. A world first to discover in video.

The first version of the robot developed by the engineers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA) was presented in 2012. Cheetah was then able to run on a treadmill at an average speed of no less than 29 km / h. Over the months, he has benefited from various improvements: the ability to detect and avoid obstacles, to jump high or to climb a staircase.

And in March 2019, MIT researchers presented a miniature version of Cheetah. It weighs no more than ten kilos and displays flexibility to piss off the best gymnasts. He is able to fold and rotate his legs to walk upside down as well as to the place. He is above all the first four-legged robot in the world able to perform a backflip. A backflip, for English speakers.


The first quadruped robot to perform a backflip

“It miraculously worked the first time we tested it,” said Benjamin Katz, MIT technician. A feat unimaginable with the previous version of the robot, Cheetah 3.  “It would have collapsed on the ground,” say the researchers. But thanks to its very specific design, this mini Cheetah can afford fast and dynamic maneuvers and withstand heavy shocks without damage to the ground.

Packed with resources, this mini Cheetah even manages to “fall back” on its feet if it is jostled by a malicious human foot. MIT engineers say it is  “virtually indestructible”. And even if it was damaged, they designed it in a modular way. Each leg is powered by three motors – to increase freedom of movement – identical and cheap, commercially available, almost as easy to replace as  “Legos parts“.