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11 November 2019 04:33

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Cute MIT Cheetah robots play soccer

What's more disconcerting than watching MIT's dog-like Mini Cheetah robot cavort around? We've had concerns about MIT's robots for some time now, but a new video from the school's biomimetic robotics lab opens into new levels of terror. After a playful bit of robot soccer, the nine Mini Cheetahs gather together like a military unit and start playing a dystopian version of "Simon Says." The synchronized stretches and backflips are creepy enough, but the leaf piles will really mess up your day. This is what the eventual, clearly inevitable robot uprising will look like right in the moment it happens. Image: MIT biomimetic robotics lab The Mini Cheetah is a slimmed down version of the Cheetah 3, a 90-pound, four-legged machine that's roughly the size of a "full-grown labrador." As Mashable reported back in July 2018, the Cheetah 3 is built to operate primarily by touch, allowing it to perform tasks in lightless environments.

TORONTO--A parade of tiny, acrobatic robots took over a university courtyard in Cambridge, Mass., this week to play a game of soccer and show off their backflips. The completion of nine new "Mini Cheetah" robots was celebrated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Killian Court. Mechanical engineers with MIT's Biometric Robotics Laboratory took the robots out into the fall weather to do a test run--and filmed the process. The video, which shows the headless robots frolicking in the leaves and playing soccer, had over 100,000 views on Youtube as of Saturday. In the video, onlookers can be heard laughing as two of the robots seem to get in a tussle over the soccer ball.

But when one of the robots rushes into the fallen robot again, it ends up slipping and falling down itself, allowing the first robot to get up successfully and charge away with the soccer ball. Of course, none of the robots are actually making the decision to fight each other for a ball; they are being remote-controlled off screen by members of the lab. The Mini Cheetahs are a smaller, more agile version of the Cheetah robotic line, the first model of which came out in 2014. Ben Katz designed the Mini Cheetah robot, and they were programmed by Jared Di Carlo, according to Professor Sangbae Kim, the director of the Biometric Robotics Laboratory. Kim told Storyful that the robots were built for "research collaboration with other laboratories." As the video continues, the researchers come into view, holding remote controls, and the robots' outing starts looking like an exercise video: all but one of the robots form a neat line, and follow the actions of the lead robot in front of them as it twists and turns, showing off all the ways the mini cheetah can move.

Later, the robots perform synchronized backflips in a line, then in a circle, then from underneath piles of leaves. A press release about the Mini Cheetahs on MIT's website describes them as "the first-four-legged robot to do a backflip." The robot can apparently move over uneven terrain "twice as fast as an average person's walking speed," and are each run by 12 motors. CAMBRIDGE (CNN) — On a recent fall day at MIT, a group of players kicked around a soccer ball on the school's Killian Court lawn. But these weren't students, they were cheetahs. MIT's Biomimetic Robotics Labratory, which sits across the lawn from the school's iconic main building, created these so-called mini cheetahs, four-legged robots that are powered by 12 motors.

With the same basic dimensions of a Boston terrier and movements similar to that dog's energetic, scampering gait, the silver robots are strikingly adorable. "My hobby was watching cheetah videos on YouTube," said MIT Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Sangbae Kim. Inspired by the beauty of the world's fastest animal, Kim challenged two of his graduate students, Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo, to create a robot that can move as gracefully as the spotted African feline. Ten years later, the team has created three versions of a larger cheetah robot in addition to the mini cheetah. Unlike actual cheetahs, which have a top speed of up to 75 miles per hour, the robotic mini cheetah' can run only about around 9 miles per hour. To keep itself upright, the mini cheetah has to make more 30 decisions per second, Kim said.

free battle

That versatility, and resilience if it falls, are what make this robot special–and very good at backflips. Teaching a robot how to jump in the air while turning 360 degrees wasn't the hard part. Backflipping "is not actually more difficult than running, it's actually easier," Kim said. After all, "if you cannot land, you cannot jump," he added. The robotics team is constantly creating new algorithms to teach the mini cheetah new skills. That's why they recently built 10 more the robots and plan to send them to other university laboratories. Working with the same hardware, the researchers will be able to share information and develop algorithms more quickly, Kim said. Kim said that robots like the mini cheetah could one day help with deliveries, elder care or emergency response, "anything that requires a human being to travel a distance and then do a specific physical action." But for now, He and his team are focused on adding skills to the mini cheetah. They're considering adding cameras so the robots could navigate through space without someone operating them. His ultimate goal, he said, is for the cheetah robots to "achieve the same level of mobility as animals… as good as a dog following you around." The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Biomimetics Robotics Lab has recently published footage displaying the various skills of its new "Super Mini Cheetah" robot. The quadrupedal robot is incredibly lightweight and is seen (above) achieving robotic feats such as backflips and playing with a football. They display high dexterity, twisting and bending in various ways as evidence of their balance and orientation control. According to MIT News, the robot weighs just 20 pounds, is "virtually indestructible" and has "a range of motion that rivals a champion gymnast." The first look of this spectacular robot came earlier this year, in March 2019. (CNN) On a recent fall day at MIT, a group of players kicked around a soccer ball on the school's Killian Court lawn. They ran around and jumped in piles of leaves. But these weren't students, they were cheetahs. Mini cheetahs, actually. MIT's Biomimetic Robotics Labratory, which sits across the lawn from the school's iconic main building, created these so-called mini cheetahs, four-legged robots that are powered by 12 motors. They can run around untethered from cables, steered by nearby researchers using an RC-like controller. With the same basic dimensions of a Boston terrier and movements similar to that dog's energetic, scampering gait, the silver robots are strikingly adorable. "My hobby was watching cheetah videos on YouTube," said MIT Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Sangbae Kim. Inspired by the beauty of the world's fastest animal, Kim challenged two of his graduate students, Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo, to create a robot that can move as gracefully as the spotted African feline.