London, Apr 21: Scientists have developed a light-weight robotic cheetah. It efficiently uses its energy to replicate the movements of the fastest land animal in the world. According to a report, the scaled-down robotic version moves using only about 15 per cent more energy than a real cheetah.

Geert Folkertsma from the University of Twente in the Netherlands was quoted by PTI as saying,”As you might expect of the fastest land animal in the world, the cheetah makes very efficient use of its energy.” He also said that it is necessary to ensure effective movement of robots in our environment as they are bound to play an increasingly important part in our daily lives. “Robots that walk more elegantly and efficiently can be developed by applying knowledge about the movement patterns of Cheetah,” he added.

The cheetah is different from other robots who tend to be large and heavy, taking cumbersome steps, as it is swift.

Folkertsma studied extensive video footage of cheetahs and used software to analyse their movements. He found that the backbone proves crucial to the power this big cat generates. Bending and extending its spine enables the cheetah to move efficiently, run exceptionally fast and make huge leaps, PTI reported.

Folkertsma also informed that instead of vertebrae and intervertebral discs, we worked with a cleverly placed spring which delivers approximately the same effect.

In the robots, the scientists imitated how cheetahs are able to store a lot of energy in their muscles for later use. For this purpose, the scientists have fitted selected springs in our robot’s legs.

The prototype weighs in at 2.5 kg and is 30 cm long – twenty times lighter than a real cheetah and four times smaller.

Taking into account the weight difference, robot can currently reach a speed of about one kilometre per hour.