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WATCH: This robotic cat prances around like a real kitty
Check it out right meow

Swiss engineers have created a four-legged machine that mimics the stride of cats.

Developed by robotics researchers at Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EFPL), the small, housecat-sized machine isn't that fast; its top speed is just 3.1 mph. But the robo-feline's creators think they can ratchet up its speed to somewhere around the 40 mph mark, making it ideal for traversing rough terrain and conducting search-and-rescue missions. (Once they take it off its tether, at least.)

Like Boston Dynamics' much larger robo-cheetah before it, our kitty here is "based on the meticulous observation and faithful reproduction of the feline leg," say EFPL's engineers.

"This morphology gives the robot the mechanical properties from which cats benefit," explains EPFL's Alexander Sproewitz, "that's to say a marked running ability and elasticity in the right spots, to ensure stability. The robot is thus naturally more autonomous."

The next step, presumably, is to program it to ignore you.

Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.

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