Compact MIT-Inspired 'Baby Cheetah' Biomimetic Robot Features 3D-Printed Legs, Smartphone Control

While Jegatheesan Soundarapandian's robot is remote controlled for now, a planned upgrade will add sensors for autonomous motion.

Gareth Halfacree
8 months agoRobotics

Jegatheesan Soundarapandian has released a build guide, design files, and source code for a compact Arduino-powered biomimetic robot based on the MIT Mini Cheetah, dubbed the Baby Cheetah, and already has plans for a 12-servo self-contained autonomous upgrade.

A product of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Biomimetics Lab, the quadrupedal Cheetah robot design has won awards for autonomous jumping. The Mini Cheetah, meanwhile, reduced the design's size and cost — but Soundarapandian's 3D-printed build takes things a step further, albeit without quite the flexibility of MIT's original.

"I like very much to see robots walk like animals," Soundarapandian says of his inspiration. "Likewise, very small robot I want to build. This is the version 1; I plan to upgrade more and more for this robot. In the first version I cover major portion. This robot [can] run, walk, crawl, walk and run in different heights, take push-ups (actually I plan for jump but this servo just push up), self-check and say 'hai.' For the first time I use the 3D printed parts. Inspired of MIT Cheetah I did it, so i name it as 'Baby MIT Cheetah.'"

Measuring just 230x90x90mm (around 9.06x3.54x3.54"), the compact Baby Cheetah is based around an Arduino Nano board with an HC-05 Bluetooth module for communication with a controlling smartphone application. Eight MG90S servos provide motion — to be upgraded in a future version to 12 to allow for side-stepping like the MIT original — while a repurposed computer PSU provides power.

The legs and servo holder are all 3D-printed, including joints, though the body is not — something Soundarapandian says he would like to revise for the next iteration, as well as replacing the computer PSU with internal batteries. Another upgrade on the to-do list is to add gyroscopic and ultrasonic sensors in order to turn the robot from a remote control unit to a fully autonomous machine.

Instructions, and links to source code and 3D printed part design files, for the Baby Cheetah can be found on Soundarapandian's project page.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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