Search and rescue. All-terrain vehicles. The stated uses for the Cheetah robots that MIT's Biomimetic Robotics Lab is working up sound terrific. Look at this devil run! It has been able to out-sprint Usain Bolt for a couple of years now; last week, everyone got a glimpse of its newest capability: Hurdling barriers at a gentle jog.
Great party trick. Everyone clapped.
“Watch MIT’s Robot Cheetah Jump Over Obstacles,” Popular Science exhorted.
“Watch a Cheetah Robot Jump Over Hurdles Without Slowing Down,” IFL Science cheered.
"MIT's Cheetah Robot Can Run 5 MPH and Jump Right Into Your Nightmares," Digital Trends surmised, totally nailing it.
We do realize this is a military-funded attack bot in the making, right? Prosthetic advancements, sure. Exploration of minefields and mountain crags, great. But DARPA does more than dabble in cartography. There’s this quote from a 2012 Bloomberg story: “The head roboticist declined to say when such a technology would be ready for the battlefield, but he says this sort of machine could someday serve as a ‘scout robot and ‘maybe deliver some payload.’ This kind of machine could also be useful in emergency rescue and civilian disasters, the company says.”
The payload in question might be nothing more special than a hungerless, tireless weapon that can run faster than any person on the planet. Just try to listen to the audio on this and not imagine these metal footsteps are behind you, getting louder. The Cheetah one day is going to be awesome at whatever we set its mind to. Scouting, plus other stuff. Without slowing down.