by HAEIN JUNG
Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt from Jamaica is considered the fastest sprinter ever. But now he’s got some competition, though not from anyone human.
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a sprinting robot, The Raptor, whose fastest speed clocked in at 28.5 mph, beating Bolt’s top speed record of 27.44 mph.
The design of the robot is inspired by the Velociraptor dinosaur, which we’ve seen terrorizing the masses on screen with its powerful hind legs and teeny arms in the much beloved classic film Jurassic Park. The robot, like the dinosaur, runs on its two legs, but the limbs are made of carbon fiber prosthetic blades, allowing the robot to be lightweight, at 6.6 pounds. It even has a “tail,” a spinning rod attached to the robot to prevent it from falling over. The robot can jump over obstacles as tall as four inches, while still maintaining its speed—a monumental achievement for the Korean researchers in robotics science.While The Raptor’s stats are impressive, it actually isn’t the fastest in the robotics world. Boston Dynamic’s Cheetah, modeled after the fastest mammal alive, can surpass Bolt and The Raptor, as its fastest speed record show 29.3 mph, slightly faster than South Korea’s robot. But further test runs are reportedly underway at KAIST to help propel South Korea’s Raptor to first place.
There is one drawback to this speedy robot: it can only run when attached to a rail.
The Raptor and The Cheetah are only a few of the many animal-inspired robots engineers and researchers are unveiling in recent months around the world. German engineers debuted their Bionic Kangaroo robot in April and The Defense Advanced Research Project Administration (DARPA) has also released their versions of robots derived from animals, such as the Wild Cat, Big Dog, and the previously mentioned Cheetah.
Here’s a look at the Raptor in sprinting action:
In other robot news, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology’s (KIST) Center for Intelligent Robotics has developed Robocare, a start-up company that has created two intelligence-training robots, Silbot-3 and Mero-S. Plans are in motion for the robots to be sold internationally, and the company announced it has already signed contracts with Denmark and India, and is finalizing another with Russia, according to the Joongang Daily. The robots are programmed to teach English, along with 17 cognitive training programs for senior citizens to help strengthen their memorization, judgment and language speaking abilities.