MIT’s creepy four-legged robot can now do backflips

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If a robot that can run, jump and climb isn’t your thing, maybe one that can do backflips is.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently unveiled a new video of its Mini Cheetah robot, demonstrating that the four-legged android is now capable of doing backflips.

“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 university wrote in a description of the video. “The robot can also trot over uneven terrain about twice as fast as an average person’s walking speed.”

MIT’s quadruped is just the latest robot able to perform the stunt. In 2017, Boston Dynamics showed off its Atlas humanoid robot doing the trick.

The Mini Cheetah is significantly smaller than the 90-pound Cheetah 3, which is able to perform tasks such as jumping on tables or go up stairs and through unstructured terrain. The university describes the smaller android as “inexpensive and lightweight,” noting it too is capable of such tasks as running, walking, jumping and turning.

The Mini Cheetah likely won’t be available for sale, unlike Boston Dynamics’ offerings, such as Spot (which is now showing up at construction sites), but it’s fun to imagine bringing it to parties and having it rock out and get into dance contests.

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