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Cheetah Cub Robot From PKD's Android Dreams

This is the stuff of Philip K. Dick's dreams - or at least those of the androids in his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.


(A small robotic cat)

Even though it doesn’t have a head, you can still tell what kind of animal it is: the robot is definitely modeled upon a cat. Developed by EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory (Biorob), the “cheetah-cub robot,” a small-size quadruped prototype robot, is described in an article appearing today in the International Journal of Robotics Research. The purpose of the platform is to encourage research in biomechanics; its particularity is the design of its legs, which make it very fast and stable. Robots developed from this concept could eventually be used in search and rescue missions or for exploration.

This robot is the fastest in its category, namely in normalized speed for small quadruped robots under 30Kg. During tests, it demonstrated its ability to run nearly seven times its body length in one second. Although not as agile as a real cat, it still has excellent auto-stabilization characteristics when running at full speed or over a course that included disturbances such as small steps. In addition, the robot is extremely light, compact, and robust and can be easily assembled from materials that are inexpensive and readily available.


(Robotic 'Cheetah cub' video)

As Isidore says in Philip K. Dick's 1968 classic Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep:

""What about an exact electric duplicate of your cat? We can have a superb handcrafted job by Wheelright & Carpenter in which every detail of the old animal is faithfully repeated..."

Via PopSci.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/16/2013)

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