Researchers create housecat-inspired robot

cheetah cub robot
© Biorobotics Laboratory, EPFL

By now, you've all seen the amazing robotic cheetah from Boston Dynamics that was able to smash Usain Bolt's speed record. Well, it looks like that big cheetah bot now has a little brother called the "cheetah-cub robot" that is more closely modeled after a house cat. The scientists at Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) created the feline robot to mimic the speed and agility of cats with the eventual purpose of helping to create search and rescue missions which would require quick action over uneven terrain.

A press release from EPFL, the biorobotics experts who also brought us the amphibious robotic salamander, explains that this all comes downs to a cat's legs. "The machine's strengths all reside in the design of its legs. The researchers developed a new model with this robot, one that is based on the meticulous observation and faithful reproduction of the feline leg. The number of segments – three on each leg – and their proportions are the same as they are on a cat. Springs are used to reproduce tendons, and actuators – small motors that convert energy into movement – are used to replace the muscles."

The cheetah-cub robot can run seven times its body length in a second, and while already pretty agile, the researchers are working to improve it's stability.

You can watch a video of the cheetah-cub robot in action below.

Researchers create housecat-inspired robot
The cheetah-cub robot is light, fast and agile, which would make it a good fit for search and rescue operations.

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