It was back in early 2011 that we first heard the Department of Defense robotics wonks at DARPA had commissioned Boston Dynamics to build the fastest legged robot in the world
, a quadruped 'bot known as Cheetah that would be modeled on the animal of the same name. But it wasn't until March of this year that we got to see the concept in action when DARPA released a video of Cheetah
on a treadmill setting a new land speed record for legged robots at 18 miles per hour. Then in September it did it again
, recording a top speed of 28.3 miles per hour--a speed that, as far as we know, still stands as the land speed record to beat for a legged robot (or a human; Usain Bolt's peak speed during the 100-meter is 27.78 miles per hour). In 2013, Boston Dynamics plans to let the Cheetah run wild--outdoors and untethered from its current fixed power source, that is. More on this as it develops.