MIT Mini Cheetah robot shows off with backflips, 'pronking,' and more

MIT's Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory has published a new video showing off its Mini Cheetah robot and a trick has learned: backflips. The robot features a four-legged design and weighs just under 20lbs; despite its mechanical nature, it is able to perform a backflip without any outside assistance. The robot is also shown on video running, rotating, and more.

According to MIT, its new Mini Cheetah is the first four-legged robot capable of doing a backflip. A demonstration of this ability was recently published by the institute on YouTube, where it also showed off the robot in various other activities (joined by a blooper reel).

The Mini Cheetah can run at speeds of around 8ft per second, which works out to almost 5.5 miles per hour. The robot doesn't have to plow ahead at full speed, however, and is also capable of a 'trot-run' at the equivalent of a fast human walking speed. The robot operates completely independent of any cables or other tethers.

In addition to backflips, the Mini Cheetah knows how to move with a 'pronking' imitation, which is a sort of (in this case, ungraceful) bouncing movement that involves all four legs leaving the ground at the same time. This movement imitates the air leap seen with gazelles and similar animals.

Other movements include rotating, diagonal movements, stepping in place, maintaining its balance when aggressively pushed, righting itself independently when knocked over, pivoting its back legs, and catching itself when tossed to the ground.