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Stumbles Prevent Robo-Sprinter From Spreading Abject 'Terminator' Terror

The T-1000 shape-shifter robot in 'Terminator 2' serves as a terrifying upgrade over its Arnold predecessor. But, that intimidation doesn't arise from its morphing capabilities, because the robot truly horrifies us when it breaks into -- with those disturbing swinging arms -- an emotionless, unflinching sprint. Well, finally, an engineer has decided real robots should possess those same stupefying skills.

MIT scientist Ryuma Niiyama is developing a running robot, simply named 'Athlete,' that employs seven complex muscle systems. The artificial muscles, which mimic human sets like the gluteus maximus and the hamstring, power prosthetic blades similar to those utilized by amputee athletes. Embedded sensors and inertial measurement units monitor the bot's orientation, so that it -- conceivably -- can maintain a steady, sickening sprint.

Thankfully, Niiyama diluted (well, completely negated) the T-1000 fear factor by dressing 'Athlete' in some tiny Bill Clinton running shorts. Plus, the bot's skills -- in both sprinting and balancing -- definitely require continued development, although it could possibly compete right now in the Steeplechase. The fun starts at 1:21 below.

Tags: ai, ArtificialLimbs, prosthetic, robot, robots, top