It seemed like just recently, robots used to move with stiff, jerky movements. Now, they’re doing backflips.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shared a video of their MiniCheetah robot successfully completing a backflip—and nailing the landing. The team said the 20-pound creature is the first four-legged robot to ever pull off the gymnastic feat.
What’s even more impressive—or perhaps troubling—is how the robot can also walk upside down. If the robot falls, or is kicked, perhaps by a scared human, it can quickly regain its footing and continue moving full speed ahead.
The robotic mini cheetah can also gallop over uneven terrain twice as fast as the average human, according to researchers.
The quadruped was constructed as a research project. It is the smaller relative of the Cheetah 3, a larger robot that can jump on a desk, or expertly climb a staircase littered with debris. MIT researchers have shown off advancements in the 90-pound robot over the past few years, which they hope could be applied to search and rescue missions.