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MIT Cheetah robot does backflips, gets kicked [Video]

The 20-pound robot is claimed to be the first four-legged robot to do a backflip.

Researchers at MIT are showing off another robotics milestone as the Mini Cheetah learns how to backflip.

Weighing just 20 pounds, the Mini Cheetah is claimed to be the first four-legged robot to do a backflip. It can also walk right-side up and upside down, or trot over uneven terrain at twice the average person's walking speed.

The team that built the quadruped designed it to be "virtually indestructible" even if it does not stick the backflip landing or gets kicked over by a human handler. A modular design allows quick repairs if it does become damaged.

"A big part of why we built this robot is that it makes it so easy to experiment and just try crazy things, because the robot is super robust and doesn't break easily, and if it does break, it's easy and not very expensive to fix," says lead developer Benjamin Katz, technical associate in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Katz envisions a competition that involves at least 10 Mini Cheetah robots distributed to other teams and put through an obstacle course to "accelerate research" as independent researchers refine additional skills.

The Mini Cheetah appears to be significantly smaller than Boston Dynamics' Spot Mini, a 55-pound quadruped that will eventually be commercially available.


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