If you ever thought of owning a cat, but wanted something a little more cold, distant and hairless, take a look at the Cheetah-Cub Robot from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. The Swiss university has engineered a cat-like robot that’s the fastest robot of its size (a staggering top speed of 3.2 mph), according to Popular Science.
Developing walking patterns and gaits for robots is usually a tough task, but researchers used mother nature to find the best way to get the robotic kitty running. They mimicked the way an animal’s spinal cord sends rhythmic information to an animal’s legs to make sure the Cheetah-Cub maintains speed and doesn’t go wildly off balance. The project prides itself on using animal biology to learn about the limits of technology. At the same time, researchers believe the project is a great way to learn about animals and biomechanics.
“Biologists cannot directly observe [biomechanics in animals] because you cannot cut into the leg of a living animal without harming it,” researcher Alexander Spröwitz says. “It’s possible to recreate it with a robot, and then you can actually change the conditions–the length of the leg or segmentation–you basically can test different scenarios, which you cannot do on an animal.”
Either way, this amazing technology has a wealth of uses like search and rescue missions in terrains where wheels are a liability. And there’s also a great chance you’ll be buying a Robo-Kitty 2000 for someone on Christmas 2018.