The field of biomimetics is a varied one. From large helicopters to tiny nano-bots, the scope is massive. Scientists have looked to nature for sometime now in order to reproduce it in a way that will be beneficial to mankind.
Boston Dynamics, funded by DARPA, created a running robot called Cheetah, a quadruped that could run at speeds of over 29 mph. To put that into perspective, it is faster than Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet. But they didn’t stop there. In fact the team then created Wildcat, a similar quadruped, which was designed around the Cheetah, but could run at fast speeds over rough terrain.
The US is not the only country that is showing great interest in this field. Scientists from KAIST have designed and built a new robot that has almost matched Cheetah’s speed record. This design wasn’t built around a cat like frame, instead the team opted for something that isn’t alive anymore; the Velociraptor. This two-legged machine, called Raptor, was created by scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
The robot has been fitted with a tail, the same as the extinct reptile, for balance. Currently it can go as fast as 28.58 mph (46 km/h), just a fraction slower than Boston Dynamics’ robot cat, which has a max speed of 29.2 mph (47 km/h). In comparison to the robotic cat, though, the technology behind Raptor is a lot less complicated. The team have even used ordinary springs as tendons to enable it to run fast more effectively.
Currently Raptor is restricted to running on a treadmill, the same as Cheetah’s older model. The science team behind Raptor hope to make it more stable in the future so that it can run on any surface.
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[Image via s4t7]