Engineers at MIT have always set themselves up for excellence and this time they have brought a robotic cheetah that can even take leaps like a real one.
The robotic cheetah is named “mini cheetah.” It is able to jump across the gaps that are found in the ground. This was specified in an MIT news release. The mechanism is supported by a real-time video sensor that senses obstructions in the way of the robot, like gaps and holes. This generates instructions for the robot to leap across them just like a cheetah would.
“In those settings, you need to use vision in order to avoid failure,” Gabriel Margolis, a professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at MIT, said in the release. “For example, stepping in a gap is difficult to avoid if you can’t see it. Although there are some existing methods for incorporating vision into legged locomotion, most of them aren’t really suitable for use with emerging agile robotic systems.”
The vision mechanism of the cheetah focuses on the depth of forthcoming terrain, feeding it into a neural network that gives a target trajectory to a low-level controller that handles the bot’s 12 joints.
“The hierarchy, including the use of this low-level controller, enables us to constrain the robot’s behavior so it is more well-behaved,” Margolis said in the release. “With this low-level controller, we are using well-specified models that we can impose constraints on, which isn’t usually possible in a learning-based network.”
Besides the leap now, the cheetah could already nail a backflip. It is being hoped that it does not become autonomous enough to harm people like SkyNet.