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New velociraptor-inspired robot can run much faster than you can

RoboRaptor

Image courtesy KAIST

If Jurassic Park ever gave you nightmares of being chased by velociraptors, here’s some good news: Such an event could become a reality some day.

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a velociraptor-inspired robot that can sprint just as fast as its Cretaceous counterpart.  

Clocked in at 28.5 miles per hour, the aptly named Raptor is faster than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, the fastest known human whose top speed is recorded at 27.44 mph. However, the sprinting dinosaur isn’t quite as fast as Boston Dynamic’s Cheetah robot, which was once clocked at 29.3 mph.

Yet the two robotic runners are quite different from one another. Unlike the bulky, four-legged Cheetah, the Raptor is lightweight and minimal in design, only comprised of two legs and a tail for balance. 

According to CNET, each of the Raptor’s legs is attached to a carbon-fibre prosthetic blade and houses an Achilles tendon to absorb shock. The “tail” consists of a pole connected to the side of the robot, which swings as it runs.  This provides a counterweight and keeps the robotic dino from falling forward or backward while reaching its high speeds.

And the robot doesn’t necessarily need smooth terrain to run. The Raptor possesses dynamic stability control, and its tail helps it to overcome small obstacles when running on a treadmill. 

Though the Raptor still needs to be attached to a pole in order to stay upright, the researchers hope to develop the robot further, allowing it to run on its own soon enough.

So when these velociraptor robots eventually take over the world, just remember: The attack won’t come from the front, but from the side.