Laugh while you can at this BigDog robot video

Funny, sure… for now.

(Credit:
Boston Dynamics)

Robots will play a greater role in fighting wars in the future, and BigDog wants a piece of that action.

BigDog is both the silliest and scariest military robot out there. The recent video below from creator Boston Dynamics provides a retrospective on the DARPA-funded quadruped, which is designed as a load-carrying mule for soldiers.

The vid shows six years of BigDog evolution from 2004 through 2010. The 240-pound, all-terrain cyber-canine can tackle slopes up to 35 degrees, rubble, snow, mud, and water, and can carry a 340-pound load. That’s handy since the average soldier load has increased dramatically in recent years.

You can’t hear it in the video, but it sounds like a go-kart because it runs on a one-cylinder Leopard go-kart engine.

Its sensors include stereo vision, GPS, a gyroscope, and LIDAR–you can kick it and it’ll keep on trucking. The machine once set a record for traveling 12.8 miles without stopping or refueling. It can run at speeds up to 4 mph.

No doubt BigDog is impressive, even awesome in its relentlessness, but also ridiculous. Boston Dynamics once had fun “weaponizing” the brute, perhaps inspired by that jocular … [Read more]

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