A few days ago, MIT published a video showcasing their Cheetah 3 robot doing treadmill exercises and even jumping on top of a desk.
As shown in the video, the robot is able to run around and climb up stairs littered with obstacles. It is also capable of regaining its balance after being pushed around.
The Cheetah 3 is special not only because of these things but also because it is able to achieve them without the use of cameras, so technically, we’re talking about a blind robotic big cat.
Cheeta’s designer, Sangbae Kim, says that
“vision can be noisy, slightly inaccurate, and sometimes not available, and if you rely too much on vision, your robot has to be very accurate in position and eventually will be slow. So we want the robot to rely more on tactile information. That way, it can handle unexpected obstacles while moving fast.”
Cheetah 3 uses a “blind locomotion” ability that employs a set of algorithms to detect contact and adjusts the robot’s movements accordingly and helps it determine how much force it needs to use when stepping.
The robot will be using cameras, but it will be so it can keep an eye on its surroundings.
Kim says he sees the Cheetah 3 as being useful for dangerous and difficult work in the future, carrying out tasks that would normally be either inaccessible or too dangerous for humans.