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Robot NIGHTMARE sets new leggy-bot speed record

It's those DARPA thrill-seekers again

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Video The ever-inventive mad scientists at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released a video of its Cheetah quadrupedal robot, showing how it's now the fastest mechanical beast on four legs.

If you happen to have a wee child watching over your shoulder at this very moment, The Reg strongly suggests that you ask them to leave the room before playing this video – that is, unless you want to spend the night consoling them after they wake up in a cold sweat after a DARPA-induced nightmare.

Cheetah, as DARPA explains, has just broken the previous legged-robot land speed record of 13.1 miles per hour, set in 1989, by galloping along at a full 18 mph.

Today's speedy beast is confined to a robot-lab treadmill, is powered by an off-board hydraulic system, and uses a tether to keep it centered on the running surface. Tests of a free-running beastie, however, are planned for later this year.

I, for one, emphatically do not welcome this particular robot overlord. Not that I don't fully trust my benevolent government to always have my best interests at heart, but the prospect of a herd of these metal mothers bearing down on a passel of Occupy Wherever protesters is nightmare-inducing, indeed.

I need a pint. ®

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