Researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) developed a cheetah-shaped robot that brings to mind DARPA’s creations instantly, despite its smaller size.
The resemblance is caused by the fact that both EPFL’s cheetah-cub and DARPA’s cheetah are quadruped robots. However, DARPA’s projects usually seem to have military applications, while this cheetah-cub is quite adorable and could qualify as a pet any day of the week. Besides, DARPA’s cheetah was built with speed in mind (after all, the cheetah is the fastest land mammal), while EPFL researchers decided to focus more on stability and movement patterns. Despite being a cheetah, this robot moves more like a cat. The design has a steampunk touch, so it could be the best of two worlds.
It’s nice to see, though, that some people are more than glad to welcome our new Robotic Cat Overlords. If the developers equipped the cheetah-cub robot with eyes similar to the ones of the Hypnotoad, then these small cats might eventually take over the world. A Skynet run by purring robots is not a possibility, not matter how much some people would want this to happen.
Even if this cat robot had any fur on it, Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory still couldn’t have sang Soft Kitty (or couldn’t have had it sung to him, for that matter) in its presence. Still, a fur-covered robotic cat would be much better than a real pet, from several points of view. The cheetah-cub robot may be more expensive in the beginning, but owners would be able to save money afterwards, since it does not need any cat food to live. More than that, a litter box would not be necessary. Last, but not least, a robotic cat would most certainly outlive its real counterparts, and in case it breaks, it would certainly be a lot easier to repair. I only hope that people won’t request in their will to be buried with their robotic cat (much like the wealthy guys from Ancient Egypt), as that would cause some panic among the ones to exhume them after a few centuries/millenniums.
Wait till the web gets filled with lolroboticcat videos and images! That would really be something, but programming a robot to take a certain stance would take a bit from the spontaneity and the realism of the situation. Till then, EPFL researchers claim that the purpose of their robots includes exploration and search-and-rescue missions.