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Puma's new robot can outpace Usain Bolt

Puma BeatBot
The Puma BeatBot.
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There's no getting away from it: the robots are coming. But Puma's latest bit of advanced technology isn't designed to bring you breakfast, put together car parts or secretly plot world domination - it just wants to improve your lap times.

The BeatBot runs on four wheels and is clever enough to follow a track, so the idea is you program it with the speed you want to run and then try and outpace it. Apparently, it's capable of going as fast as Usain Bolt in record-breaking form: 27.7 mph.

"How do you beat a record when you can't see it?" is the question posed in Puma's demo video showing off the capabilities of the bot. It's been developed with the help of Puma's ad agency and researchers at MIT.

A need for speed

Unfortunately, you can't yet order the Puma BeatBot and use it out on the track - the high-speed device is only available to Puma's sponsored athletes for the time being. According to TechCrunch, a wider roll-out is planned later this year.

Included in the bot's tech are two GoPro cameras, presumably to keep a record of your runs, and LED lights that make it easier to follow the BeatBot when you're racing around the track.

Of course you don't have to sprint along at Usain Bolt-level speeds: the accompanying app lets you program in your personal best, the personal bests of your competitors, or any other time and distance that you want to use as a target.

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.