MIT just released a new video for one of its robots, the Cheetah 3, in which it demonstrates the ability to walk, run, leap and jump up onto objects all while essentially being blind.

As MIT’s Jennifer Chu explains in a recent blog post, the robot is now capable of doing the things it was doing previously without the necessity of a camera or any other sensors feeding it information about the environment.

Utilising a method referred to as “blind locomotion”, each of the four legs of the Cheetah 3 is capable of feeling the highly nuanced differences of various surfaces and make adjustments to its movement accordingly.

As such, it is shown in the video below walking upstairs littered with wooden planks, as well as recovering from being pulled by a leash, along with stabilising after a significant push.

The Cheetah 3 is also able to navigate its way in a dark room, although the video does not show that aspect of its design in action.

All of these tests and enhancements are aimed at making the robot, and others in MIT’s stable more reliable in terms of the tactile information they receive. It would also make the robots far more robust, and capable of operating should their cameras or other sensors be damaged in the field.

It’s unclear where MIT will be putting the Cheetah 3 to use, other than extremely interesting looking videos, but there is certainly a case to be made for the search and rescue field, not to mention surveillance for military applications.

With potentially useful robots like the Cheetah 3 coming to fruition, is the threat of a Terminator-style uprising still something we need to worry about?

Hit play on the video below to see MIT’s upgraded creation in action.


When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.