Cheetah 3: MIT’s Blind Robot Can climb stairs littered and perform all tasks

It’s been a long time since we have seen lots of amazing robots. Robots which are able to walk, lift objects and so on. But, all these robots have one limitation. Every robot needs to look around their surrounding for identifying the task they have to do. For this, researchers have to put a camera on them to give them computer vision.

But, as we say the tech is evolving. A group of researchers from MIT has built the world’s first Blind Robot called, “Cheetah 3”. The new blind robot can jump, run and climb stairs avoiding the obstacles. The interesting part is that the robot does all this without even having visual sensors with it.

Cheetah 3 – The Blind Robot

Cheetah 3 is a 40 KG mechanical machine nearly the size of a Labrador. It is designed to work without relying on visual sensors and external environmental sensors. Due to the absence of visual sensors, it “feels” its way through the surroundings avoiding the obstacles. The engineers describe this movement as ‘blind locomotion’. It is similar to how a person moves inside a dark room.

The robot basically works on two algorithms. One algorithm decides the movement of the robot. Such that, when the robot encounters an obstacle, how it should move and where it should move. While the other algorithm says the robot about the force it has to apply for all the actions it is doing.

Sangbae Kim, one of the Associate Professor linked with Cheetah 3 said that “The robot will face many unexpected situations which it should be able to handle. The robot is designed as such to handle these situations without the help of vision”. Further, talking about vision, Sangbae said “Sometimes, vision can be inaccurate and not available. So, if the robots rely on them they can face trouble in the absence of it. So we decided to make the robot vision independent. Hence we have used the blind locomotion technique which is similar to how a person moves inside a dark room. That way, it can avoid the obstacles easily”.


When Sangbae was talking about the robot, he said “The robot can be used in multiple places. There are many occasions where we can use these robots to do the simpler tasks instead of humans. Work involving danger, dirt can be easily done using the robots. Moreover, the robot is designed to do complex tasks too. For example, the Cheetah 3 can do power plant inspection. It includes terrain conditions like stairs, curbs, obstacles on the ground and so on”.

The new blind robot, Cheetah 3 can do several tasks. It can climb easily on rough surfaces avoiding the obstacles. The robot is designed to walk up staircase quickly and maintain its balance on the way. The team is planning on to present the robot at a Robotics Conference later this year. They feel that the robot is far superior to vision robots and hence can bring about a revolution.


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