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.)
"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.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- 10 things you need to know today: July 25, 2014
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
Subscribe to the Week