Resources:
Boston Dynamics
To see the Darpa robot running, http://tinyurl.com/7wapc39

Cheetah, a four-legged robot designed at Boston Dynamics, Waltham, Mass., recently set a new world record for legged robots, 18 mph. This beats the previous record of 13.1 mph set back in 1989.

The robot mimics real cheetahs by flexing and unflexing its back on each step, letting it adjust its stride and speed. The robot is tethered, with hydraulic power and possibly activation commands sent in on overhead cables and tubing. The robot is also partially supported by an overhanging mechanism that keeps the robot on a treadmill. Free-running tests are scheduled for later this year.

The Cheetah robot is a Darpa project, with that agency looking to improve the speed and agility of battlefield robots.

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