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Video Of The Day: Robot Runs Faster Than Usain Bolt
September 6, 2012
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No doubt about it, Usain Bolt is the fastest person on the planet. But just for a little perspective, any idea how fast Bolt has actually run? And we don't mean, the 9.63 time he put up in the 100m final at the London Olympics.


We mean in miles per hour. It's astonishing really. Bolt's top speed is 27.78mph (44.7km/h), recorded in 2009. Think about that. If Bolt ran as fast as he could through a school zone, he'd be pulled over for speeding.

Well, as impressive as that is, the Pentagon is developing a robot that has just run faster than Bolt. In fact, it set a new world record for legged robots (apparently, there's a record for everything) - 28.3mph (45.5km/h).

It's called the Cheetah robot, although it doesn't really look like a cheetah. It doesn't even have a head. But its design is inspired by the real cheetah - the running stride, the agility and how the back and leg muscles move.

Although to be fair to Bolt, it was tested on a treadmill over just 20 metres, not 100. But still. Here's video of the robot setting a new world record.

Now, you might be thinking - why is the Pentagon building a headless robot that can run like the wind? For the military, of course. And if need be, war.

Apparently, the idea is to create a robot that could carry equipment across terrain or through ditches, where trucks could get stuck.

Of course, there's always the possibility it could be used for more than that. As one robotics expert told the BBC, "It's going to be used for chasing people across the desert, I would imagine... if it's used for combat, it would be killing civilians as well..."

The robot has been created by a company called Boston Dynamics and paid for by the U.S. Defence Advanced Research Project Agency. It says the aim is to "more effectively assist war fighters across a greater range of missions."

U.S. officials plan to test the robot in the field in 2013.

As for Usain Bolt, he's running the 100m tomorrow night in the last Diamond League event of the year. The meet is at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, which is considered a fast track.


Bolt says he's drained mentally, but he says he's got one more run in him, and believes it won't be that hard to put up a fast time.

Maybe one day, Bolt will square off head to head with the robot. That would be something.

For now though, we'll have to settle for that historic day in 1998, when Canada's Ben Johnson raced against two horses and a car for charity.


Johnson beat the car, but lost to the horses. Although, no one has ever been able to answer one question: were the horses drug tested?

Johnson isn't the only one to race a horse. A former British Olympic medalist named Jamie Baulch did it for charity too. Here's the video. Fast forward to :45.

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