MIT's Mini Cheetah Robot Has Happy Flapping Head

Cheetahs don't jump, they bounce

Super Mini Cheetah

Super Mini Cheetah

Complete with superfluous head.MIT Biometics Research Lab

For MIT's Mini Cheetah robot, the head is not a strictly required accessory. Instead, to give the lightweight and low cost ambulatory machine some character, the researchers attached a cartoon tiger's head to the little robot. The effect is right on the border between the comically bad plateau and a horrifying descent into the uncanny valley.

I mean, just look at this thing. Look at how its head flops. That is not a thing that heads are supposed to do.

Created by Will Bosworth with colleagues at MIT and supported by funding from DARPA, Mini Cheetah is a tool for learning how to bumbling and bouncing machines move best. At just under 20 pounds and with a top speed under 3 mph, it's a modest tool for exploring the wider world of legged robots. It has a long way to go to catch up to Boston Dynamics' Cheetah, though.

Below, watch Mini Cheetah walk down a hill.