Boston Dynamics frees its four-legged sprinting robot: Cheetah becomes WildCat (video)

The last time we saw the sprinting "Cheetah" robot, our fear for the future of humanity was soothed slightly by the knowledge that it remained tethered to the offboard hydraulic pumps it relied on for power. Now, Boston Dynamics is taking the chains off of its world record holder and letting the next generation of sprinter run, called WildCat. As shown in the video after the break, it's already capable of bounding and galloping across flat terrain at speeds of up to 16mph. We don't know what kind of power WildCat is running on, but unless its energy drains faster than a Sega Game Gear on Christmas Day, 1991, things are looking bleak.

Update: We checked with Boston Dynamics, and it confirmed the WildCat runs on a 2-stroke go-kart engine, directly coupled to a hydraulic pump. Right now, it has a small fuel tank to keep the weight down, and is capable of running for about five minutes.