Usain Bolt may be the fastest man in the world but he couldn't outrun Boston Dynamics' Cheetah Robot. The YouTube video below clocks the Cheetah at 28.3 mph 0.5 mph quicker than Bolt's fastest. Obviously this is only a prototype by Boston Dynamics plans to be testing a fully autonomous Cheetah in 2013.
So what's the application for this technology? Boston Dynamics has been working for the US military and their DARPA programme developing robots to support combat troops. BigDog is essentially a pack horse that can carry equipment across rough terrain. PETMAN is an anthropomorphic robot for testing chemical protection clothing. PETMAN's range of motions are weirdly creepy and it falls right into the uncanny valley.
Thanks to my friend, and author, Nas Hedron for pointing me in the direction of Cheetah - please check out his new novel, "Luck and Death at the Edge of the World" that stars an AI who channels Alan Turing.