Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Robotic Dog Videos

A company called Boston Dynamics released the video below about two years ago, a video of its robot, "Big Dog," that can walk over nearly any surface by learning from its slip-ups. Big Dog is about three feet long, standing near waist-height, and weighs about 240 pounds. It can see, and it can carry up to 340 pounds on its back. It will run at 4 mph and set a record, Boston Dynamics says, for going almost 13 miles without stopping or refueling.

But watching the video is like watching a giant insect: it's disturbing -- this is the robot that will hunt us all down when the machines take over. I joke, but the robot does have obvious military applications. It's so loud because it's powered by a single 15hp go-kart two-stroke engine, driving a hydraulic pump.

It looks like it's alive because the movement is much more realistic (especially when a man tries to kick Big Dog over) than robots of the past, much less mechanical. And it's that life-like quality that's most fascinating and most disturbing.

In this next video, Big Dog is programmed to follow a human leader, instead of being controlled remotely.

Little Dog, another Boston Dynamics project, is much smaller, but equally mobile. Each of its legs is powered by three motors, and its batteries will last 30 minutes.

And of course Boston Dynamics is working on a humanoid version, still in the lower body phase of development.



Blogger leon evol said...

i think the most terrifying part of the littledog video is the vangelis-esque blade runner soundtrack.

10:08 PM  

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