Researchers at University of Twente in the Netherlands have developed a light-weight robotic cheetah that efficiently uses its energy to replicate the movements of the fastest land animal in the world.
Geert Folkertsma, a researcher at the University of Twente, and his team has mimicked the animal's ability to store energy in its muscles by fitting the robot's legs with springs and this scaled-down robotic version moves using only about 15 per cent more energy than a real cheetah.
"I wanted to create a robot that runs the same way, with the aim of applying this knowledge to the development of new robots", said Folkertsma.
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"Robots are bound to play an increasingly important part in our daily lives and we therefore have to ensure that they can move effectively in our environment," he added.
The prototype weighs 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) and is 11 inches (30cm) in length, which is twenty times lighter than a real cheetah and four times smaller.
To create this model, researchers studied video footage and used software to pin down the nuances of cheetah movement.
"By applying knowledge about the movement patterns of the cheetah, you can develop robots that walk more elegantly and above all efficiently", said Folkertsma.
The research provides valuable knowledge that can be used to optimise the robots of the future, designed to support us in areas such as healthcare or housekeeping.
The knowledge gained from the project can also be put to good use in rehabilitation robots or advanced prosthetics that are equipped with robotics.