MIT researchers have developed an algorithm for bounding that they’ve successfully implemented in a robotic cheetah. The project is being implemented for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.

In a leap for robotic development, the MIT researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs — making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.

MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot can now leap and gallop across rough terrain, climb a staircase littered with debris, and quickly recover its balance when suddenly yanked or shoved, all while essentially blind.

MIT’S new mini cheetah robot is the first four-legged robot to do a backflip. At only 20 pounds the limber quadruped can bend and swing its legs wide, enabling it to walk either right side up or upside down. The robot can also trot over uneven terrain about twice as fast as an average person’s walking speed.

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