MIT has made a Mini Cheetah robot that can do backflips

Olive Hawkins
March 5, 2019

The new mini cheetah is a quadruped weighing just 20 pounds.

The robot is capable of running up to five miles per hour, can perform a 360-degree backflip from a standing position and will right itself quickly after being kicked to the ground.

MIT is now making more of these Mini Cheetah robots, and plans to have a set of 10 to show off at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May.

MIT's new mini cheetah robot is springy and light on its feet, with a range of motion that rivals a champion gymnast.

MIT researchers claim the robot is created to be "virtually indestructible", recovering with little damage even if a backflip ends in a fall.

The miniature version of Cheetah 3 robot can now do backflips.

The flexible quadruped runs faster than an average human walks; it swings and bends like a yogi and uses its rotating limbs to maintain flawless balance.

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Mini Cheetah is driven by three identical electric motors on each of its legs.

Thanks to its high torque and low weight, Mini Cheetah is fast and dynamic while maneuvering, and it handles anything rough terrain can throw at it without breaking a limb or a gearbox.

A very important aspect of the film and also of the Mini Cheetah is represented by the ability of the robot to walk on uneven ground and where there are obstacles that could reduce the adhesion with the ground.

According to Benjamin Katz, a technical associate in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering, by making the mini cheetah so hard-wearing and cheap to fix, it allows for experimentation.

The mini Cheetah is based on Cheetah 3.

Each leg is powered by three motors, to give it three degrees of freedom and a huge range of motion.

Katz and Di Carlo built Mini Cheetah in the lab of associate professor Snagbae Kim. They are now building more of the four-legged machines, aiming for a set of 10, each of which they hope to loan out to other laboratories.

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