Dog Robot

Why are we posting so many videos these days you ask? I don't know!

Anyway this is both cool and somewhat off-putting/frightening but only because it is awesome.

From Slashdot:

"The US company Boston Dynamics has released an amazing new video of its quadruped robot BigDog. The highlight of the video (at 1:24) shows how the robot starts slipping on ice, almost falls several times, but finally regains its balance and continues walking. The video also shows the robot's ability to cope with different types of terrains, climb and descend steep slopes, and jump. Two years ago, the older version of BigDog was already able to climb slopes, keep its balance after a strong kick, and walk on rough terrain like stones, mud, and snow. The new version weighs 235 lbs and can carry a payload of up to 340 lbs, a factor of 4 better than its predecessor."

Credit to C. Cleveland for forwarding along.

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I had the same odd reaction that many other viewers reported having, feeling sorry for the robot when it was kicked, and I think it says something powerful about how organic the movement looks.

I would say it is also a bit frightening because it appears to have spider legs! and it does make a wholly un-organic sound. Still, a very cool development.

This is awesome, but I'm still going to cry myself to sleep. Is it alright to be irrationally terrified of how it's legs move?

(In other news, I totally want one, no matter how scared I am that it'll develop sentience and run me down.)

interesting update! plans are in the works to ensure robot dog WILL develop sentience and run you down!

4 legs are clearly better than 2.

It needs a tail.

Thanks so much for posting this, Andrew. I will see it tonight, in my nightmares, chasing me through the woods. Can't wait!

I can imagine a shy lad and a girl, cheek on cheek, on a grassy clearing in the woods - and suddenly THIS thing with antenaes and crooked legs walks in and climbs all over them while buzzing like a lawnmower. I think they would never recover.


That thing is really neat. I'm still gonna have nightmares.

But it's REALLY neat.

Sweet monkeys, that thing is so irrationally scary. I think it's partly from the fact that it moves fairly naturally but looks completely weird.

Buzzing noises and slowed down black-white scenes did not help the creepy factor. O_o

I saw the original too. My nightmare is similar, except in a vacant town, where you hear nothing, then that buzzing-mooing, then that machine prancing down the street at you. No amount of kicking could take it down.

That is one amazing piece of engineering. As has been mentioned, it just seems so amazingly organic. When it got kicked and was prancing about on ice, I could barely get myself to remember that the thing was a cold and soulless machine and not, say, Bambi after extensive reconstructive surgery.

How about night vision goggles and infrared sensing?

By Alan Bleiman (not verified) on 22 Mar 2008 #permalink

Whoops! Skip the goggles.

By Alan Bleiman (not verified) on 22 Mar 2008 #permalink

I, too, was put off by this. I am not sure why as I have dogs not much smaller than the thing, maybe the noise. It sounded like that old horror movie, The Fly (not the newer one.) Maybe if the noise wasn't so grating it would cause a different reaction.
It is a very impressive piece of engineering, even if it is nightmarish.

By G in INdiana (not verified) on 22 Mar 2008 #permalink

People! Do you realize what this development REALLY means?

Giant Mechanical Driving Spiders for EVERYONE!

I am SO EXCITED. I cannot wait to drive my giant walking spidermaton to work. I shall start shopping for a white aviator scarf right away!

I admit, Jenbug, after showing the video to a friend last night, I also started wondering if the thing could be adapted to ride on. It has the weight capacity, apparently.

good luck getting it to sneak up on someone.

*hears strange wining noise*

*wining noise gets louder, followed by footsteps...*

Man, every time I watch this I just about fill my pants with disbelief. It's amazing!