MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Easier Than Real Cheetah

MIT's robot cheetah is apparently able to run with less effort than an actual cheetah, wasting little energy as it trots for 90 minutes on a treadmill (note that this is a different device than Boston Dynamic's cheetah robot).


(MIT's relaxed cheetah robot trots effortlessly)

The key to the robotís streamlined stride: lightweight electric motors, set into its shoulders, that produce high torque with very little heat wasted.

The motors can be programmed to quickly adjust the robotís leg stiffness and damping ratio ó or cushioning ó in response to outside forces such as a push, or a change in terrain. The researchers will present the efficiency results and design principles for their electric motor at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May.

Sangbae Kim, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor in MITís Department of Mechanical Engineering, says achieving energy-efficiency in legged robots has proven extremely difficult.

To understand how an electrically powered system might waste little energy while running, the researchers first looked at general sources of energy loss in running robots. They found that most wasted energy comes from three sources: heat given off by a motor; energy dissipated through mechanical transmission, such as losses to friction through multiple gear trains; and inefficient control, such as energy lost through a heavy-footed step, as opposed to a smoother and more gentle gait.

The group then came up with design principles to minimize such energy waste...

... The cheetah robot, according to Kimís calculations, falls around the efficiency range of humans, cheetahs and hunting dogs.

Currently the team is assembling a set of new motors, designed by Jeffrey Lang, a professor of electrical engineering at MIT. Kim expects that once the group outfits the robot with improved motors, the cheetah robot will be able to gallop at speeds of up to 35 mph, with an efficiency that rivals even fliers. The researchers are convinced that this approach can exceed biological muscle in many aspects, including power, torque and responsiveness.

Fans of Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash may recall the Rat Thing:

The body is Rottweiler-sized, segmented into overlapping hard plates like those of a rhinoceros. The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's. It must be the tail that makes people refer to it as a Rat Thing, because that's the only ratlike part - incredibly long and flexible.
(Read more about Stephenson's Rat Thing)

Read more at MIT.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/6/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'- Schachner and Zagat, 1931.

Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'-- Philip K. Dick, 1955.

New 'Smart-Skin' Senses Pressure, Humidity, Heat
'You can even sense with your fingertips...'- Martin Caidin, 1972.

Flying Robot Waiters From Infinium Robotics
'It was a smooth ovoid floating a few inches from the floor...'- H. Beam Piper, 1962.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'

A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'

What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'

Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'

LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'

EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'

Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'

Puls 'Smart Watch' Replaces Your Cell Phone
Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.

Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'

US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.

Fast Lightweight Autonomy Indoor Drones For DARPA
'the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom... and sought the security of a shadowed corner.'

Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'

FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator And Psychohistory
'The reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli...'

Stellar Navigation Based On Network Analysis
'We are a traveling people. We need a travel station here.'

New 'Smart-Skin' Senses Pressure, Humidity, Heat
'You can even sense with your fingertips...'

Mimo Baby Monitor
'In every diaper there is a fine copper wire.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.