Dinosaur-inspired robot sprints faster than Usain Bolt

Dinosaur-inspired robot sprints faster than Usain Bolt

Researchers have created a new sprinting robot, inspired by a ferocious dinosaur, which is so fast it can outrun Usain Bolt.

The robot, called Raptor, has achieved a speed of 46 kilometres per hour on a treadmill. That is faster than the fastest human, the Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, whose top speed has been estimated at 43.92 km/h.

Built by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the robot has two nimble legs and a mechanism that mimics a tail.

Raptor is almost as fast as the world's fastest legged robot, Cheetah, built by Boston Dynamics, which reached 47 km/h in a trial two years ago, also on a treadmill, IEEE Spectrum reported.

Inspired by the velociraptor - a predatory dinosaur which lived 75 million years ago - Raptor is a compact, 3-kilogramme machine, with legs made of lightweight composite material.

While Raptor's tail looks nothing like that of a Velociraptor's, it works like one, moving rapidly to help the robot maintain its body stable while stepping over obstacles, said Jongwon Park, a PhD student at KAIST's Mechatronics, Systems, and Control Laboratory.

A video of Raptor released by the researchers shows the robot progressively increasing its speed until it reaches the 46 km/h mark.

The video also shows a researcher placing obstacles on the treadmill. Raptor, however, does not trip on them owing to its tail which helps the robot maintain its balance.

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