Sangbae Kim, a Professor at MIT who previously worked at Stanford University on their famous gecko-inspired robot StickyBot, is hard at work on an ambitious new robot with the help of 4 grad students. They plan to build a quadruped capable of running at at least half a real cheetah’s speed 112kph (70mph), and they’re giving themselves 18 months to do so. They plan on using carbon-fiber-foam composite material that is both light weight and strong. Currently, they’ve gotten as far as this awe-inspiring concept render:
If they can pull it off, it will be quite an accomplishment given that Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog is much, much slower than that and has taken years to develop and test. Luckily, the cheetah robot (which looks like a panther due to its material properties) won’t have to carry hundreds of pounds of military gear, but I don’t think that will make Kim’s job much easier. Regardless of whether they succeed or fail, they’ve certainly gotten our attention.