This robotic cheetah is being developed by Boston Dynamics for a DARPA robotic mobility program. Boston Dynamics has a number of other creative, high-tech robotic systems on their web site, and the videos are worth checking out.
In watching the cheetah and another video, “PETMAN” (a humanoid walker), I couldn’t help but think about the entertainment/sporting value of robotic systems. Imagine drag racing cheetahs, or a NASCAR style league of running robots. It’s not hard to look at recent history and see where wrenching on cars in the garage turned into a multi-million (billon?) dollar sporting enterprise. Who’s ready for robotic races?