Usain Bolt may be the fastest man on earth, but he’s got nothing on a robotic Velicoraptor from Korea.
A team of researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology set out to build a robot that could best the Jamaican gold medalist on the track, meaning it would have to top out at a speed somewhere above Bolt’s record of 27.44 miles per hour. So they went to work on a robot named Raptor that uses two metal legs outfitted with a shock-absorbing component, much like an Achilles tendon.
The end result for the robot — 28.5 miles per hour on the treadmill, enough to beat Usain Bolt comfortably in a race.
The Korean robot follows up a similar one made by Boston Dynamics that mimicked the Cheetah, nature’s fastest animal. Initial tests for the robotic Cheetah were just 18 miles per hour, though it has now improved to just a shade better than the Raptor.
Both robots still have a lot of work before they can actually beat Usain Bolt in a real race. So far they can only run on a treadmill, and only work if they’re attached to a rail that keeps them from falling over.
But if they did race, it wouldn’t be the first time Bolt took on a non-human opponent. Last year he ran an exhibition race against a bus and took the race quite seriously, stretching for several minutes before blowing the bus away.
After the race, Bolt moved on to real competition, racing against fellow Jamaicans Mario Forsythe, Kimmari Roach, and Daniel Bailey. Bolt won again.
In his real running career, Usain Bolt has committed to returning to the Olympics to defend his gold medals. After winning gold in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4 x 100 meter relay in consecutive Olympic games, Bolt said he wants to return to Rio in 2016 to do it again.
“One of my main goals is to go to the Rio Olympics, as I was saying, to do it again,” Bolt said last year. “To defend my titles and it’s never been done three times so, for me, that’s me trying to set the bar as high as possible. To just push the barrier.”
Bolt even hinted that he could do more from there, but said he’s keeping his focus on Rio for now.
“So far it’s after the Olympics in Rio,” Bolt said of when he could retire. “If I’m in great shape and I go there and do what I have to do, I think it would be a good time to retire on top and having dominated for so long.”
Luckily Usain Bolt will only have to race against humans in Rio.