The proud roboticists at Boston Dynamics compiled a nice new video featuring the greatest highlights from the life and times of BigDog, to whom PopSci first introduced you five years ago. From robot pup playtime to a beach vacation in Thailand, BigDog has had plenty of adventures.
Several of them have been chronicled in these pages — click here for a clip of BigDog scrambling to regain its balance after slipping on a patch of ice, for instance. But the below video has the added bonus of a new bluesy theme song, with a beat seemingly written to match BigDog's jaunty gait.
BigDog uses a system of hyper-responsive hydraulic joints, sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes to keep it on its four legs. Boston Dynamics says the creature can run at 4 mph, climb slopes up to 35 degrees, walk across a wide range of terrain, and carry 340 pounds. It's designed to go wherever humans would go, carrying their load without complaint or the urge to sniff the ground every six inches. It's funded by DARPA, naturally.
In pup mode, it performs a doglike "let's-play" stretch; later in its life, it gets down to business, leaping like a greyhound and tromping through the snow like an AT-AT walker. Turn up the sound and check it out.
Cool but creepy.
Are we living in a Sci-Fi movie yet?
I love how freaky this thing is. Coordination with the quad copters would be cool.
It was a fun video to watch! Something more advance, bigger and more powerful should be sent to Mars. This thing can navigate a rough terrain great!
this is amazing. Seen it in the past but sort of dismissed it. The potential of service here is soo great. This is like a non human slave..I cant wait to have slave bots..bring me this...do that..
But seriously.. Medical, humanitarian, military you name it this can help
oh and did you see it recover from that fall??? wow...
Great vid but the music means you can't hear how loud the thing is. When you hear that it isn't very impressive at all, even the newest iteration. You can be stealthy when you have a ginormous robotic donkey crashing through the brush powered by propane engine that, on its own, already sounds about as loud as a freight train.
dragonfang is right! you should check out other youtube vids. this thing is %%%%ING loud as hell! Like it hurts your ears it is so loud!
It is promising and I am sure will become a staple on the battlefield one day, once they make it electric and not run by the single loudest combustion engine ever designed.
How stealthy is a tank? Not everything needs to be quiet. It would be pretty intimidating to see that coming at you, or knowing it was about to be unleashed in your house.
They can't put a muffler on the thing? Something's not right about the sound problem.
the military needs to contact "stealthrubber.com" for better traction.
STOP ROBOT ABUSE NOW!!!
I suspect a few of you have not stood next to few military vehicles. They can be noisy.
I still think this robotic machine is pretty awesome in how well footed it is and stable in various terrain. I still see it as a great planet or asteroid probe. Yes in space there will be no combustion engines running and the power source of this mobile robot will have to be different. I think the demo is really cool!
This is great technology, but from my research they have spent about $70 million developing the large and small versions of bigdog. Given the noise problems and the fact that it walks at 3 miles per hour and carries about 400 lbs, wouldn't it have been easier to use a real mule that might cost $100-200 and can do the same thing? If they want to get fancy and spend a bunch of money, maybe they could put electrical implants into the mules brain to steer it and control/reward it the way other researchers are proposing doing with mice or insects. Of course, they don't need electrical implants. They just need someone trained to handle mules (aka a muleskinner). At most they might use a stun collar or something if the mule bolts with all their equipment at an inappropriate time. Give it some body armor too (aka barding) and it might even survive an attack as well or better than this robot probably would.
Plus, with a real mule, if you run out of supplies and get really hungry .... yummy, yummy, pass the barbecue sauce ;-)
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We've been living in a Sci-fi movie since the 1970s. More like a sitcom that has something new every episode; space travel, nuclear fusion, supersonic to hypersonic flight, computer networks, cybernetics, robotic algorithms, nanotechnology, cloaking devices, particle acceleration, defying laws of physics, temporal relativity.
It's a Jules Verne/H.G. Wells/Isaac Asimov kinda world.
it looks cool, just like everything else new, it needs time to take care of the bugs and problems
This reminds me of that huge guardian robot in deus ex human revolution. it runs on a nuclear engine.and it r completly silent but hey thats just a game...OR IS IT!
I think the real purpose of this device is to say to our enemies, "Look how effin bada$$ we are. We could have just used a real mule, like anyone else would do, but that would be way too damn easy and low rent. Instead our military has so much crazy cash that we can afford to pay scientists and engineers tens of millions to invent a robotic mule, straight out of fricken Star Wars, just to prove how awesome we are. Take that you box-cutter toting jihadis."
that game was bada$$, hated goin up against those things
i agree, hahaha, lets scare em with a huge robotic donkey, muahahahahaha
Seriously? A mule? could you hook up a remote control to a mule right now.. top it off with a gatlin gun, laser sights and video? Then armor it up and march it over blast rubble into a church or school where hodji is hiding behind civilians (because we aren't allowed to shell or fire at these buildings) and then take a laser guided precision shot at their head? Am i the only one to see these applications?
Mules have an upkeep and training cost. While they cost x number of dollars to buy, they cost another amount to train, and another amount to feed continuously. You cant just not feed them. Likewise in a wartime scenario, its better to have items with common fuels, ie diesel or gas whatever this robot uses that is the same as everything else in the military vice having to bring in seperate food for the mule. And finally, you cant send a mule in to where you know it will get shot. This robot can be sent in to deliver food, ammo, med suppllies, or whatever to troops that would otherwise be unreachable on a battlefield.
@uselesstoy: A combat robot would need additional armor, and stealth, among other things. They started out with the relatively simpler stuff. Throwbots are used for recon, for example, though I hear some of them also carry a suicide explosive charge.
@djmcwhatever: Robots have an upkeep and training costs (at least to train the humans who operate them) that is absolutely guaranteed to exceed that of a mule, probably by a factor of 10 at the least. No kidding you have to feed mules, as opposed to carrying gasoline for this chainsaw-sounding robot. Mules eat less than horses, and they don't need fancy grains. They eat grass and other greens which is widely available in many of the climates depicted for operation with bigdog. Most mules manage to forage just fine. How do you think cowboys handled this? You make it sound like some complicated astrophysics problem to use a mule. People have been using them for centuries and they didn't need any advanced degrees to handle them either. If people can't figure out how the basics of handling a mule in a few hours or a few days, at most, then I fear for my country and what we've become.
BTW, from everything I have seen about bigdog, they only "weapons" they have put on the platform are some bulls horns, so they can play matador for the camera. The problem, among other things, is that this platform moves at 3 mph. Perhaps they will put a gatlin gun or other armaments on it. Then it might start to be a better investment. However, in its present capacity, it's questionable. That's all I'm saying.
this is a wast of money! there are no guns, wepong, anything that would help the military with thier missions.... just wtf?
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What this 'bigdog' desperately needs is a head. It's odd to see a 4 legged creature running around without a head.
this is really cool it might be fun to have one to carry things and to fool around with.
This is obviously a technology that can bear fruit for us down the road, but for where we are now, it might serve us better to think about the advances we've had in the exoskeletons that are further along than this, with the added benefit of being controlled by a cyberlinked troop or Marine. Same payload. I get it that with these carrying gear for say, a recon or SF team; that the gear could take a different route than the actual team, and arriving at a specified point when the support is actually needed. The thing is, that if and when that 20 cent "lucky" rifle round takes out the robot dog, we lose the million dollar logistics rig and supplies to the enemy, and quite possibly the engaged team that has a life expectancy of two hours or so, once engaged. I'm glad I don't have to try to sell these to our Gunny's as being able to be counted on when it counts. An exoskeleton will be operated by a fully qualified team member that has just as much to lose as anyone else on the team. That's a selling point that our troops can believe in.
Kill yourself. wtf would a mule be useful for? and a gatling gun? obviously if im on patrol in the middle of a desert im not going to give a fuq about how loud this thing is. It's less weight i have to carry. And besides this creepy thing can be strapped with some explosives and remotely guided into a building and do some serious damage if it had to.