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.