Watch a herd of MIT's Mini Cheetah robots frolic in the fall leaves

Backflips, soccer and creepy dances are part of the fun.

MIT wants to show that its Mini Cheetah robots aren't just solitary creatures. The school's Biomimetics department has posted a video of nine of the bots frolicking in the fall leaves, showing just what these pet-sized quadrupeds can do. The remote-controlled machines can backflip out of leaf piles, kick a soccer ball and have friendly tussles... well, if a bodyslam can be considered friendly. There's even some eerie coordinated dancing, in case you want to know how robots will socialize once the robopocalypse is over.

Really, this illustrates how the Mini Cheetah project is moving forward. Now that the bot is proven to work, MIT is building a fleet to lend out examples for research projects. Demos like this are a step toward improvements in robot locomotion and other scientific pursuits. Whatever creepiness you see here could lead to robots that are better-suited to hazardous work, search-and-rescue and other efforts that might just save human lives.