Cheetahs are supposed to be the fastest running animals on land, especially when it is chasing down its prey, but it cannot sustain such high speeds for extended lengths of time simply because its body will overheat. Having said that, science does take inspiration from nature (the history of flight, the discovery of penicillin…), and here we are with a Cheetah Robot that was commissioned by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), who is actually the research arm of the US Department of Defense. This robot takes design cues from an actual cheetah, but it does not fare as well as its biological counterpart – hitting speeds of up to 18 mph (29 kph). Still, that is a new land speed record where legged robots are concerned, and there are plans to test a free standing prototype later in 2012. Developers are keeping their fingers crossed that with further research and development, the robot will be able to hit speeds of up to 70 mph (130 kph) one day down the road.

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