What We Have Learnt From a Cheetahs Tail
By using both practical test rigs and computer simulations we have learnt a lot about how a cheetahs tail effects manoeuvrability.
Meet Baleka, Africa’s first two-legged robot
Baleka, a biped robot developed by the Mechatronics Lab, has recently been in the news as the first of its kind to be developed in Africa.
IEEE Spectrum: Jumping Spider Robot Uses Tether for Controlled Jumps
Researchers from the University of Cape Town in South Africa built a robot called LEAP (Line-Equipped Autonomous Platform) to see if they could replicate the skills of the jumping spider.
Home > News
Baleka Getting Some Attention
Wed, 24 Apr 2019 - 10:15

Baleka has been getting some attention in the news of late showing off the the work done by the mechatronics lab. Have a look at some of the articles here.

Tracking the cheetah's motion with DeepLabCut
Mon, 03 Dec 2018 - 10:30

DeepLabCut is an open-source toolbox that can be used to capture the motion of animals from video footage - no markers required. An Chi Chen and Dr Patel put it to the test on a challenging application: tracking the motion of cheetahs.

Understanding the Cheetah Tail: A Robotics Perspective
Mon, 05 Nov 2018 - 13:00

Dr Amir Patel of the RAM group gave a talk titled 'Understanding the Cheetah Tail: A Robotics Perspective' at the Fall Seminar Series hosted by the Mechanical Engineering Department at Johns Hopkins University, where he discussed the application of methods from the robotics field to investigating the role of the cheetah's tail in its incredible manoeuvrability, and his sabbatical work on contact-implicit trajectory optimization and markerless motion capture.


RAM Group's final year students stand out at Open Day
Thu, 01 Nov 2018 - 09:15

Final year students working on projects with the RAM Group took home the lion's (or, more appropriately, the cheetah's) share of prizes at UCT's 2018 Electrical Engineering Open Day. Their topics included a rotating camera gimbal that recognises and follows a running animal, a markerless motion capture system that can determine a subject's pose from video footage, and a low-cost three-axis force plate.

Preprint: accurately modelling the complex dynamics of legged systems
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 - 13:30

Simulation and trajectory optimisation have become vital additions to the roboticist's toolkit, but the dynamics of legged systems are particularly challenging to model because they change every time a foot makes or breaks contact with the ground. Dr Patel spent some of his sabbatical applying his mind to the problem and, together with his student, Stacey Shield, and his colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University, he came up with a new approach to the problem that's more accurate and faster to execute than established methods.

Unusual Appendages Workshop at RSS 2018
Sun, 01 Jul 2018 - 21:45

Dr. Amir Patel co-organised a workshop titled "Unusual Appendages: Novel, multi-modal, or multi-functional uses for limbs, tails, and other body parts” at this year's RSS conference, held at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to bringing together esteemed speakers from the bio-inspired robotics and biomechanics communities, this workshop was a chance to showcase his work on the aerodynamics of tails inspired by the cheetah.

ICRA 2018 in Brisbane
Wed, 30 May 2018 - 21:00

The International Conference on Robotics and Automation took place in Brisbane, Australia, the first time the conference took place in the Southern Hemisphere. Alex Blom, one of the masters students in the RAM lab, attended and presented his paper on the optimal design of a robot leg for acceleration manoeuvres.

Recent Publications: Tracking the Cheetah's Motion
Fri, 02 Jun 2017 - 07:45

A paper by the RAM Research Group titled Tracking the Cheetah Tail using Animal-Borne Cameras, GPS and an IMU has been accepted for publication in IEEE Sensors Letters. Congratulations to Dr. Amir Patel, Bradley Stocks, Callen Fisher, Prof. Fred Nicolls and Prof. Edward Boje on this achievement.

IROS 2016
Sat, 08 Oct 2016 - 13:00

All the best to Neil and Amir, who leave for Korea today. They'll be presenting their paper, 'Minimum Time Sprinting from Rest in a Planar Quadruped', at the 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. The conference will be held at the Daejeon Convention Centre from 9-14 October.