Watch: New robot prances like a cheetah

If you were planning to run away when the robot uprising begins, it's time to come up with a new plan.

A Dutch researcher has developed a robot that mimics the way a cheetah moves.

Geert Folkertsma of the University of Twente says the current generation of robots aren't good enough at getting around.

"My robot vacuum cleaner, for example, cannot climb stairs or even cope with thresholds. We therefore need to develop robots that can walk and when it comes to moving around efficiently, there's a lot we can learn from the cheetah."

The cheetah is the fastest land animal on the planet, capable of hitting 100km/h. In contrast, 100-metre record holder Usain Bolt's top speed has been recorded at 44.7km/h.

Mr Folkertsma, a PhD student, studied slow-motion footage of cheetahs, analysing just how their bodies work.

"My robot can be seen as a simulated skeleton, complete with muscles and joints," he says, adding that it's not a direct copy, because it doesn't need to be.

"A real cheetah not only runs, but also climbs trees for example. That is not something our robot needs to copy. After all, the aim was not to reconstruct a cheetah, but to reap the rewards of its efficient way of running.

"By way of illustration, the robot does not have a normal foot, but a light-weight mechanism with springs which turned out to be more efficient."

Mr Folkertsma's cheetah robot can only do 1km/h at the moment - but that's because it's only 30cm long. Scaling up its size and weight (2.5kg), it would only be 15 percent less efficient than nature's best.

He's now working on a new type of leg, and is confident he can get the robot up to 20km/h.

"By applying knowledge about the movement patterns of the cheetah, you can develop robots that walk more elegantly and above all efficiently."

Let's hope Mr Folkertsma doesn't go down the same route as the Russians, and teach his super-fast robots how to wield dual pistols and drive cars.