DARPA: Our Robot Cheetah Is Faster Than Usain Bolt

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Sept. 5 2012 6:13 PM

DARPA: Our Robot Cheetah Is Faster Than Usain Bolt

151003958
Could Usain Bolt be outrun by a robot?

Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/GettyImages

After Usain Bolt dominated the Summer Olympics, Slate’s Josh Levin wrote that for an encore, the unsurpassed Jamaican sprinter should try a new event, like the long jump or the 400 meter.

Here’s another possibility: Make like Garry Kasparov and go up against a machine.

Advertisement

In a video released today, DARPA brags that its Cheetah robot, built by Boston Dynamics, can now best Bolt, reaching 28.3 miles per hour—just a hair faster than Bolt’s peak 27.78, which he ran in 2009. But DARPA admits that its robot had a “slight advantage” because it’s on a treadmill, not a real track.

Perhaps Bolt should take this gloating from DARPA as a challenge and go treadmill-to-treadmill with the Cheetah bot.

The robot’s not as fast as a real cheetah—yet.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

The NFL Should Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status, Which It Never Should Have Had Anyway

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 18 2014 6:52 PM Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters  Colorado Democrats and Republicans are testing theories for reaching women that will resonate far beyond the Rocky Mountains.  
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.