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
- How a degree from Duke University dashed my dreams of buying a home
- Half the world's population lives in these 6 countries
- This is why you can't trust the NSA. Ever.
- 10 things you need to know today: August 23, 2014
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Innocent before proven guilty? The bizarre bipartisan rush to clear Rick Perry
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- ISIS and the echoes of the West's religious terror
- What Keeping Up with the Kardashians can teach America about interracial marriage
- Inside America's crumbling infrastructure
Subscribe to the Week