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MIT's backflipping Mini Cheetah robot is too cute to fear - CNET

The robot apocalypse just got more adorable.

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February 28, 2019 1:59 PM PST

MIT's scrappy little Mini Cheetah robot is a cutie-pie of a robotic quadruped. 

The school posted a video on Thursday of Mini Cheetah in action. It's all highlight-reel stuff, showing off the robot's ability to backflip, run, scoot sideways, hop and play in a pile of dry leaves like a shiny little headless puppy.

Mini Cheetah is the creation of MIT's Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory, which is also developing the much larger Cheetah 3. The big sibling bot can jump up on your desk. Personally, I'd invite Mini Cheetah to jump up on my lap for some snuggles. 

Mini Cheetah weighs just 20 pounds (9 kilograms) but can still recover when someone kicks it around. Even when kicked entirely onto its back, it can roll itself upright. There's an endearing blooper reel at the end of the video showing some Mini Cheetah fails, but the little robot still endures.

the plucky little Cheetah machine is the first four-legged robot to do a backflip. That's a gymnastic feat we witnessed Boston Dynamics' two-legged Atlas robot pull off in 2017. 

Mini Cheetah's design is reminiscent of Boston Dynamics' famous SpotMini doglike robot. I wonder if the robo-cat and the robo-dog would get along should they ever meet.

While Mini Cheetah is plenty charming thanks to its small size and acrobatic abilities, it can still trot about twice as fast as an average person's walking speed. Keep that in mind if you ever need to outrun it.

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Meet Boston Dynamics' weird and wonderful robot family

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