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Cat-like Robot Runs Like the Wind

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the played-by-peter-weller's-cat dept.

Robotics 69

DeviceGuru writes "Researchers at the Biorob lab at Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), have announced a cat-like robot that is claimed to be the fastest quadruped robot under 30 kilograms. The Cheetah-cub Robot, which runs real-time Xenomai Linux on an x86-based RoBoard robot control board, mimics the biomechanics of a cat to increase the speed and stability of it quadroped legs, helping it achieve speeds of 1.42m/s. The goal of the still-early-stage project is to encourage research in biomechanics, with an aim toward building faster robots for search and rescue, or ground exploration. More info is available on EPFL's Cheetah page."

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69 comments

BUT CAN IT BREAK THE WIND ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047217)

Pussy breaking wind ??

What is /. turning into ? (0)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#44047343)

Attempts to be humorous is one thing, totally off-topic, is another

And this ain't first time a perfectly kosher thread turns into a farce

Re:What is /. turning into ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047445)

u sound like u r nu round here
get use to it

Re:What is /. turning into ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049183)

Dude, he's trolling and you bit. Had you not responded to his troll I'd have never seen it, as I'm browsing at 0. The only way to stop these morons is to downmod and ignore them. But don't post a comment in response! That just makes them visible and gleeful that they caught someone.

And the one guy who modded you up really sucks at moderating. You're as offtopic as the troll you bit.

Come on, dude with a four digit UID you've been here long enough to know better.

Re:What is /. turning into ? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44049957)

In Soviet Russia, Slashdot turns you in!

Ok (0)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44047275)

In b4 some know-it-all neckbeard fatass looks up from yanking it to Mythbusters and says "why not just use wheels?"

Re:Ok (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44047339)

A guy I know who tried to take a bike to Everest Base Camp and ended up having it carried in and out has an answer for that :)

Re:Ok (5, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44047345)

Look, I'm not going to believe it's a cat like robot until it can lay around for 18 hours of the day and lick it's own arse.

Re:Ok's (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047865)

Its own, not it's [SICK] own.

Re:Ok's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049899)

Its own, not it's [SICK] own.

it's SIC, not SICK. Beware Muphry's Law!

Re:Ok's (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44055707)

Its own, not it's [SICK] own.

Ahem, it's [sic].

"sic" is Latin for "thus". If you're going to be a grammar Nazi, at least be accurate in your own post.

Re:Ok (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44047999)

It's the clawing of the furniture that concerns me, and leaving little nuts and bolts and oil puddles in dark corners of the room.

Re:Ok (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year ago | (#44048273)

If you drop the robot from the top of a tree, does it land on its feet? Can it even climb the tree?

Re:Ok (1)

motorhead (82353) | about a year ago | (#44049111)

It's not finished until it can puke up hairballs on the carpet.

Re:Ok (1)

Roachie (2180772) | about a year ago | (#44053797)

Duh! like everybody knows that THIS was already done by California RISC Systems back in 1989. Now, if you will excuse me, the cheese on my nachos is solidifying...

strange wind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047277)

1.42m/s is the wind in some deep cave ?

...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (5, Informative)

KNicolson (147698) | about a year ago | (#44047319)

1.42 metres per second is 5.11 kph / 3.18 mph, or Force One on the Beaufort scale, which Wikipedia tells me means "Smoke drift indicates wind direction. Leaves and wind vanes are stationary."

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (2)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#44047373)

1.42 metres per second is 5.11 kph / 3.18 mph, or Force One on the Beaufort scale, which Wikipedia tells me means "Smoke drift indicates wind direction. Leaves and wind vanes are stationary."

Yeah - Usain Bolt does his 100m faster than 10 m/s. So this robot doesn't even run like a human. But robots don't get tired (though they might overheat or have their batteries go flat), so maybe a better comparison are marathons. A decent marathon runner can do over 5.5 m/s, but even a chump like me can hold at better than 3.3 m/s for that distance.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047617)

You're not considering proportions. Compared with the size of a human, that robot runs 8 times its size per second. A human 1.8 meter tall would then have to run as fast as 15 meter per second. So this robo-cat runs faster than a human, proportionally.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047823)

Speed doesn't scale linearly with size. Otherwise you'd have to give the win to the tiger beetle. This thing certainly doesn't outpace other animals its own size, which would be a fair comparison. Approximately (first order physics here!) speed is a constant across sizes of animals - body configuration makes much more difference. You certainly couldn't make one of these robots 8 times as big and have it run 8 times as fast.

Plus, what size is the wind?

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049659)

From what I recall of my studies and modeling, scaling sizes is linear so is speed. With time left unscaled (speed = distance / time) a half-sized model only has to cover half the distance to keep speed constant. So my reasonning is correct. It is acceleration that doesn't scale linearily. Speed does.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44048007)

So it mimics a human size cat and runs slower than a human size cat.
Back to the drawing board...

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (3, Informative)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44048289)

If you examine it's gait, it's just walking quickly. Almost jogging perhaps. It certainly looks nothing like quadrupeds do when they're actually running.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#44049133)

Wrong comparison. Unless you are counting the robot's legs in the length, and its non-existant head, it's not the same ratio. You should compare its length/speed ratio to a human torso/speed ratio.

Not to mention it uses two pairs of appendages for motive force (?better term wanted?), while humans only use one.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (3, Informative)

eggstasy (458692) | about a year ago | (#44047537)

It also fails to "run like a cat" as advertised. The leg movement is similar to a fast walk, a four-beat movement. But running (galloping) is something that quadrupeds do differently, a two-beat movement, like a series of jumps, where they alternate between the hind and fore legs in pairs.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#44049163)

Also, some unicorns use a distinct five-beat gait, which is quite jarring. Or so I've read.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051253)

Mule deer do a one beat run, basically jumping with all four feet hitting the ground near the same location at the same time. True story.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (1)

olau (314197) | about a year ago | (#44053871)

I agree, but actually my sister had a cat, and it did in fact sometimes run by walking really, really fast. If you see a not too scared cat run away from you on the street, it's often doing the fast walk rather than the galloping. It looks pretty funny at top speed because the legs are moving so fast. Here's an example on Youtube [youtu.be] .

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44047713)

1.42 metres per second is 5.11 kph / 3.18 mph, or Force One on the Beaufort scale, which Wikipedia tells me means "Smoke drift indicates wind direction. Leaves and wind vanes are stationary."

Wind can move at that speed.

Re:...for suitable values of wind, I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051855)

1.42 metres per second is 5.11 kph / 3.18 mph, or Force One on the Beaufort scale, which Wikipedia tells me means "Smoke drift indicates wind direction. Leaves and wind vanes are stationary."

Wind can move at that speed.

If you're breaking wind, then sure.

I think most people consider air moving at that speed to be a mere breeze instead of a wind. (Actually, I think you need to be a 2 on the Beaufort scale to even qualify for that.)

Uh-oh: Second Variety (2)

hughbar (579555) | about a year ago | (#44047331)

Re:Uh-oh: Second Variety (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#44047863)

I haven't seen it in years, but the movie Screamers [imdb.com] , based off Second Variety, wasn't bad as I remember. I'll have to pull out my VCR this weekend and see if it still works or see if it's on Netflix.

1.4m/s is not much of a wind (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047341)

I dare say that even my cat
who is old and rather fat
can move more quickly than that

Re:1.4m/s is not much of a wind (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44047531)

Purrma Shave?

But will it leave a trail of rainbows? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047359)

But will it leave a trail of rainbows in its wake?

Re:But will it leave a trail of rainbows? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44047549)

If it's anything like my cat it will leave something, but believe me, it ain't rainbows...

Re:But will it leave a trail of rainbows? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44048251)

That's for the future Rectal Rainbow Drive model. They have to start with legs first. Baby steps.

Been there, seen that (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year ago | (#44047363)

From the same people who made Big Dog [youtube.com] I present to you the Cheetah Robot [youtube.com] .

I41 welcome our diarrhea/flatulent feline overlord (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047471)

Runs and the wind huh?

yes, but can it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047543)

outrun, say, 6/7 birdshot on the wing from a double barrel or over-and-under?

Like the wind, eh? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44047547)

I've passed wind that was faster than that. Color me unimpressed.

Don't get me wrong, it's nifty to see a four legged robot walk (although it seems to be rather random which foot hits the floor when), but when you announce something incredible and deliver something "ok", expect people to be kinda "meh".

That would be a creepy thing to see in war... (4, Insightful)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about a year ago | (#44047569)

... while in its current form it is slow and in need to be tethered, I see no reason for that to stay that way as technology advances.

Imagining that one day tech improves to the point when these things are as fast and nimble as a cat, and can last at least a few days in power, you could stick explosives on them and have them track targets. Or have them stay hidden then lunge at high speed when someone gets too close.

Like a mine that will chase after you before it explodes. Considering how fast my cat can run, and how nimble it is, in future these things could be quite terrifying, especially if they are released in large batches. Probably the only weapon that may save you is a shotgun (short of some futuristic, directed, hand held, EMP cannon).

Makes me imagine of the head crabs in half life, or the replicators in stargate.

Re:That would be a creepy thing to see in war... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048067)

Mine? blow it up? no... maybe for larger targets.

but for human targets?

give it claws.

the damage a regular cat can do to a full grown man is pretty impressive.. The damage a metal cat could do should be easily lethal.

The robot Aimee in Red Planet was the final form (1)

Marrow (195242) | about a year ago | (#44048249)

The RedPlanet was not a bad movie, and the main villain is a cat-like military robot that goes crazy and begins killing the crew one by one in a self-initiated wargame. Its form, threats, apparent application are all very competent. And it will scare the shit out of you when you realize that this is what they want to build.

Why is it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047583)

... that I never could view any video here even with Flash plugin installed and working properly? :(

The Robot Is Neat, But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047603)

I was more fascinated by the developer's fancy ninja footwear. CHIC!

One Small Step for Cat! (2)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about a year ago | (#44047703)

Wake me up when it lands on its feet (after being dropped).

Sure it runs like the wind (a very slow and mostly tired out wind).

Re:One Small Step for Cat! (2)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a year ago | (#44050981)

"Wake me up when it lands on its feet"

You have to butter it first.

Re:One Small Step for Cat! (1)

ejasons (205408) | about a year ago | (#44052359)

You have to butter it first.

But then it will hover...

But does it run Linux? (0)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#44047729)

Yes, this one really *runs* Linux!

</ba-dum-tish>

Again no foot/toe joints?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047785)

What a bunch of dumb-asses.
They always think because they themselves unnaturally wear shoes all the time, that they can just ignore foot and toe joints and senses, like they'd serve no purpose.
In reality, they are essential, and the exact reason their projects run so awkwardly, skidding and not adapting to even the simples things like their own speed.

Why is it always the pseudo-smart (read: morons) who have access to technology to build this stuff?
I want that access too! (Yes, I actually *do* know better than them.)

Doraemon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047809)

I thought the cat-like robot from the future was fat? Oh, I see, it's just a prototype.

Doraemon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047811)

I thought the cat-like robot from the future was fat? Oh, I see, it's just a prototype.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doraemon

Re:Doraemon (1)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | about a year ago | (#44052033)

From the 22nd century of the future! This one arrived earlier...

No shoulder blades? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048023)

The shoulder blade is a crucial part of the design (well, not "design" since I'm not religious but you know what I mean) of any mammal quadruped. To claim that you emulate the movement of a cat without emulating the wonderful function of the shoulder blade leg mount is just plain silly. This "robot" has NOTHING to do with a cat or or any quadruped mammals movements.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBm153A8kS8

Watch the panther running and jumping after 1.04 and you will know what I am talking about. You don't want a board with sticks attached to it, you want "floating" legs if you want to emulate a cat (or any other quadruped mammal) (BTW. Its the first video I found, search for better if you don't like it)

Overlords (2)

smileytshirt (988345) | about a year ago | (#44048219)

I for one... oh never mind, you Slashdotters are too young these days!

Accomodate? Adjust? (1)

KitFox (712780) | about a year ago | (#44048941)

Based on the very limited view we are given of this thing, I start to seriously wonder why a real-time Linux system was used. It looks like it is just actuating legs blindly. Real-time systems are tremendously useful for responding to physics in... (wait for it)... real time. "I'm starting to fall! Let me adjust this this way to prevent it. Can't wait 30ms for a response! Need to respond now, otherwise the response will be wrong." Sure, it's actuating its legs in a manner that is fault-tolerant (It can travel down breaks in the terrain up to 20% the length of its legs), but that is entirely based on the springs absorbing the extra unexpected impact and then losing it after the leg leaves the ground again, not a real-time adjustment.

This depresses me a little because, like others, it feels misleading. Mention real-time linux! Does it help or hinder? No, not really. Mention that it's cat like! How is it cat-like? Um... It has four legs and springy bits! Oh, and it goes faster stably than any other quadrupedal robot in its size bracket. How fast? That's not very fast really... But focus on the fast-ER part! It runs like the wind! A very slow, calm wind...

I'm surprised this hasn't been posted yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049043)

"Cat robots run.....run like the wind...
Cat robots screw......screw like the wind.... ..... *can't think of any more lyrics*....
Oh, yeeeeaaaaaaaa."

Wind-like Robot Runs Like a Cat (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year ago | (#44049107)

Now THAT would be a story!

Not Cat-Like (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44049199)

This has like a third of the joints of a cat. The shoulders are limited to one plane, and there's no real control past the elbows and knees. A crawling baby is more elegant than this robot. Sure it's a great step forward but to call it cat-like is completely ridiculous. It has four legs. That's the only similarity so far.

Re:Not Cat-Like (1)

daid303 (843777) | about a year ago | (#44049549)

You are so right on this one. It looks more like a small dog then a cat.

Speed could be very imporant... (1)

slas6654 (996022) | about a year ago | (#44049279)

...if this robot kitty wants not to be run over by my Ford F150.

You're kidding yourself (2)

llZENll (545605) | about a year ago | (#44049433)

I find it amusing walking robot creators talking about accessing areas inaccessible via wheeled vehicles. Walking down a 1cm step? Are you kidding me! Wheeled robots blow this thing away in every aspect, until it can go up stairs, climb the side of a mountain, and walk around just as good as a human, please call your job what it is, a tiny fractional step having fun spending other peoples money.

Cat-like? (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44049765)

My cat spends most of its time sleeping (Usually in inappropriate places). So a cat-like robot would just be a sack of loose mechanical parts.

1.42 m/s = 3.18 mph = 5.11 kph (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#44050941)

1.42 m/s = 3.18 mph = 5.11 kph

Meters per second is probably far more apropriate for something that is tethered on the end of a short cable but I'm sure many more of us can relate to one of either mph or kph.

ahh but can it... (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | about a year ago | (#44051817)

Can it run upwind directly against the wind?
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