The reality of bringing living, breathing velociraptors back to life is, thankfully, most likely destined to remain in the Jurassic Park universe. However, that doesn’t stop the speedy dinosaurs from serving as a source of inspiration, with scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) building a raptor-like robot that can reach a whopping 46 kilometers per hour (28.6 miles per hour).
The robot, appropriately named Raptor, is bipedal like its namesake. It features two flexible feet, made out of a carbon-fiber/epoxy composite, which are attached to lightweight legs. Each limb also has the robot equivalent of an Achilles tendon, which acts as a shock absorber, and a motor to control speed. To ensure balance, there’s also a “tail” – a counterweighted pole that may not look like the tail of a velociraptor, but functions pretty similarly.
Raptor’s lightweight and balanced design has made for a super speedy robot. Its top recorded speed on a treadmill is 46 kilometers per hour (28.6 miles per hour), which is faster than even Usain Bolt; the king of sprinting’s top speed clocks in just slightly slower at 44.7 kilometers per hour (27.4 miles per hour).
If that knowledge gives you cause for concern about being chased by a robo-raptor, you needn’t be worried (at least for now). Raptor has only reached the above speed when tethered to a rail for support and attached to a power source.
Since its development, however, there have been some other fairly speedy bipedal robots that have run without strings to hold them down. Back in 2022, ostrich-inspired Cassie broke the robot land speed record, covering 100 meters in just 24.73 seconds.
Who could’ve guessed that the name Cassie, rather than a robot velociraptor, would be the thing to fear in the robot uprising?
If you’d like to find out more about bringing extinct creatures back to “life” in the form of robots, check out the slower, but just as smart, soft robot replica of a long-lost sea creature.