DARPA’s Pets

“Paging John Connor..”

DARPA’s Cheetah Bot Breaks Human, Robot Speed Records

By Stephanie Mlot


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Boston Dynamics have unleashed a legged robot that’s even faster than Olympic champion Usain Bolt.

The Cheetah recently broke its own land speed record of 18 mph, running a 20-meter split at 28.3 mph, faster than the world record for a human set in 2009 when Usain Bolt reached a peak speed of 27.78 mph.

But that accomplishment comes with a caveat, DARPA admitted in a news release. The robot had a slight advantage over Bolt, since Cheetah ran on a treadmill which provided the equivalent of a 28.3 mph tail wind. Still, most of the machine’s power was used to swing and lift its legs fast enough to achieve its quick pace, not to propel itself forward, the agency said.

Under development in the Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program by Boston Dynamics, the animalistic robot is based on the world’s fastest mammal. Like a real-life cheetah and other swift land runners, it’s built to be able to navigate difficult terrain that cyborgs riding on wheels or tracks can’t.


New DARPA robot could make Marine pack mules obsolete

By Eoin O’Carroll

Christian Science Monitor

The sure-footed mule, long a mainstay of US Marine operations in mountainous areas, may soon find itself replaced by a robot.

Developed by the USMC’s Warfighting Lab, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Boston Dynamics, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) can walk up to 3mph for 20 miles, and can job for short bursts at 8mph, all while carrying up to 400 pounds. Knock it over, and it will stand up again.



“This video shows versions of DARPA and Boston Dynamics robots climbing stairs, walking on a treadmill and doing pushups.

A modified platform resembling these robots is expected to be used as government-funded equipment (GFE) for performers in Tracks B and C of the DARPA Robotics Challenge ( The GFE Platform is expected to have two arms, two legs, a torso and a head, and will be physically capable of performing all of the tasks required for the disaster response scenarios scheduled in the Challenge. However, despite the appearance of the robots in the video, the Challenge is decidedly not exclusive to humanoid robot solutions. Any designs are welcome provided they are compatible with shared human-robot environments, compatible with human tools, and compatible with human operators so that a human without expertise in robotics can give commands and confidently anticipate the response.

It is DARPA’s position that achieving true innovation in robotics, and thus success in the Robotics Challenge, will require contributions from communities beyond traditional robotics developers. Hardware, software, modeling and gaming developers are sought to link with emergency response and various science communities to devise novel solutions that enable robots to respond to disasters according to the tasks laid out in DARPA’s announcement ( for the Challenge.”




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