Remember MIT's Cheetah robot? The one that can outrun Usain Bolt. Turns out the researchers at the university's Biometrics Robotics Lab have now upgraded the robot with new algorithms that give it the ability to detect and jump over obstacles up to 40 centimetres tall. This makes the Cheetah robot the first to jump hurdles autonomously, and the next step towards the beginning of Skynet.
The team installed LIDAR onto the robot to map out its surroundings (the sensors used by self-driving cars that pulse lasers off terrain to record the surroundings), which with a trio of algorithms can jump obstacles. The first detects and estimates the size, the second works out where the Cheetah's feet need to be at the start of the jump, and the third calculates the force needed.
"A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior," Sangbae Kim, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT commented in a press release. "You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically designed for those highly dynamic behaviours."
Fascinating, yet terrifying stuff that you can check out in the below video.