Here’s a robot that runs faster than Usain Bolt

Modeled after the extinct Velociraptor, this robot is said by its developers to run faster than the Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt. The robot can run 100 meters in just 7.8 seconds. (Reuters)

There are smart robots and strong robots, but they were never known for being particularly fast. I mean, RD-D2 had a top speed of, what, 5 mph? So this, via Sky News, is pretty terrifying:

A two-legged robot that can run faster than Usain Bolt and even dodge obstacles has been unveiled by researchers.

The Raptor was created by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist) and has a balancing tail and blade legs similar to those used by amputee athletes.

It helps it to reach a top speed of 28.58mph (45.99kph) – faster than Bolt’s record-breaking 27.44mph (44.16kph) sprint.

The fastest robot in the world – the Boston Dynamics Cheetah – gallops at more than 29mph, but has four legs rather than the Raptor’s two.

The article goes on to say that scientists based the robots on velociraptors — “the dinosaurs that chased down prey in packs, attacking with razor-sharp claws,” as Sky News describes them — and that the robots have “an Achilles tendon system for shock absorption and energy recovery during motion.” They’re only running on treadmills for now, but scientists plan to get them road-ready soon.

I welcome our fast robot overlords, and wish them well.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.

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Kelyn Soong · June 4, 2014

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