MIT’s Cheetah robot has just gotten a lot better. It is now capable of climbing stairs and stepping over obstacles. The best part? It doesn’t need camera or visual sensors to do it. Cheetah 3 is about the size of a full-grown Labrador. It feels its way through its surroundings and can recover its balance if shoved or yanked. So why develop a robot with blind locomotion? Here is what the robot’s designer, Sangbae Kim, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT had to say:
Vision can be noisy, slightly inaccurate, and sometimes not available, and if you rely too much on vision, your robot has to be very accurate in position and eventually will be slow. So we want the robot to rely more on tactile information. That way, it can handle unexpected obstacles while moving fast.