Boston Dynamics--developer of the headless humanoid PETMAN and the equally creepy Big Dog robots--has landed itself two more DARPA robotics grants to the tune of several million dollars each. New to the production queue: another humanoid designed to traverse rough terrain and a fast four-legged design modeled on the Cheetah that aims to be the fastest legged robot in the world.
ATLAS, as the humanoid will be called, will be a Skynet-styled super-strong, super-agile human-like bipedal robot that will build on Boston Dynamics' PETMAN program. DARPA wants it to be able to climb, turn sideways to sidle through narrow spaces, and use its hands to augment maneuverability.
Cheetah, on the other hand, has one defining characteristic: speed. The four-legged 'bot is expected to move at a pace of 20-30 miles per hour, but researchers see no reason why it couldn't eventually keep pace with its biological counterpart.
"There's no fundamental reason why it can't go as fast as the animals (60 to 70 mph), but it will take a while to get there," said Marc Raibert, Boston Dynamics' president, in the Boston Herald.
DARPA is funding the initiatives out of its Maximum Mobility and Manipulation Program, which aims to create a framework for building robotic systems faster and enhancing their ability to move around and manipulate natural environments. If speed is what they're looking for, the Cheetah is expected to deliver in more ways than one; the first prototype of the 'bot is due in just 20 months.
That is totally a Cheetor prototype. Where Optimus Primal to keep all the Maximals in line?
I'm suddenly reminded of the movie "Red Planet" and the robot that flip out named Aimee.
Don't take life to seriously! You'll never get out of it alive.
If they want speed, then attach a rocket to it. If they want maneuverability then build it with some synthetic muscle.
Cheetah-bot: cool as hell
DARPA funded cheetah-bot: I'm drawing a blank...??
Why on earth would DARPA have any use for something that runs really fast on land? I mean, it's not a personnel transport, and if they were going to scout and perform recon missions, why not just use UAV's and much quieter ground units? Maybe we're training suicide cheetah-bombers?
Don't get me wrong, I think DARPA has been really kicking @ss as of late with robotics and all, but I think this one is just a couple of geeks that got a little too caught up in the animal-bot realm....
Reminds me a bit like voltron and Zoids. Ill put in a pre-order now for a (energy) liger zero! thanks!
The only thing I can think of is a carrier of physical items (ammo, explosives, light supplies) to troops on the front lines so-to-speak. Think Afghanistan mountains where the last couple of miles to troops may be over terrain impassable by wheeled vehicles. Or maybe not, time will tell.
@Dubi0us read the 2nd comment. the robot from red planet. (I understand if you haven't seen that movie. it was pretty bad. not to mention mars is NOT RED! its is yellow brown. but hey lets continue the stupid notion that mars is red all the way into the 21st century and beyond)that robot was a multi function robot. Who knows what DARPA is dreaming up next. They tend to think a few generations down the line.
They will make the starcraft predator.
When robots start to take over, these will be the "hunters".
"Rat thing" from Snowcrash anybody?
I'm thinking "Ravage" more than anything on this.. Just picture it with weapons mounted to the rear hip. DARPA should take the hint and have this bot "fold up" into a suitcase for easy transport.
You people are so focused on the "Terminator" type of robot that you can't think of all the practical use of this robot.
1. A scout robot to find natural disaster victems traped and need help fast, send the chettah to find, and once a victem is found send a GPS signal to the nearest search and rescue worker to, guess what, rescue them and the scout doesn't even need to stick around have it run around finding people on the run.
2. Bomb squad bomb sniffers.
3. Police force police dogs (chettah in this case), a criminal runs sick the "dog" on them, or prision "dog" in case a convict runs.
4. Civilian or coummunity gard dogs.
the list could go on and on but I think you get the picture.
How is a robot bomb sniffer ever going to compete with a real bomb sniffing dog? It can't simply put. Dogs are still the most accurate bomb sniffers, beating out our current technology. They have a place to stay for a very long time.
Some people are getting too wrapped around what this robot cheetah could be used for in a practical sense. Did anyone think that maybe this is about research into robotics in general as opposed to a "black ops" purposed machine?
Think about all the doors this kind of robot would open! If you can get a 4 legged robot to move at 30-60 mph that is a feat! The things they learn from developing this robot will only help in many other areas, especially in artificial limbs for humans.
I used to be really worried about losing a limb or several in combat but now not so much. I managed to make it through my last deployment un-scathed and hopefully I can say the same after my next one. But if I am unlucky enough to lose a limb or several it is not the end of the world or my military career anymore. Robotics and prosthetics are making great advancements and developments all thanks to crazy projects like this one. Keep up the good work DARPA!
I can't help but feel like Boston Dynamics is trying to make real all of the scary robots from Metal Gear Solid.
They already made the "Gekko" (http://estb.msn.com/i/15/B14A5A93BC9897E333493E0FEF0EB.jpg) and the "Crying Wolf" (http://www.creativeuncut.com/gallery-06/art/mgs4-crying-wolf.jpg)
Well... that explains the economic collapse.
Im not saying it can't cant be used for other things, and of course it would open doors for prosthetics and artifical limbs, im all for it. but what i was saying for bomb sniffers is, one* in time mabey in time they could perfect the "bomb sniffing tech", and two* robots are way easier to train than real dogs and if a robot gets blown up oh well build a new one, if a real dog gets blown up all that training down the drain, its still better if pouch gets blown up insted of a person but still.
P.S. oh in the miltary tech have you heard about the mech suite they are develouping? im not sure if its DARPA or not but still cool.
This may be going over my head, or I may be "nuking-it", but I don't get why DARPA is using money to fund this? What is the point of using inefficient bi- and quadrapedal locomotion in robotics?
@Army Juggernaut: There is already research dedicated to limb-replacement technology, so why spend twice as much money on two teams doing the exact same thing? I am also military (Active Duty Navy) and see where you stand, but we both know that money gets thrown around willy-nilly already.
@YeahRight: Would a stealth-type UAV Helo fitted with a cargo hold be a good solution? I would think yes, more so than a quadraped mech traipsing through the wilderness.
@Moquah-Hunter: Really? All of the tasks you listed are already performed by other technologies or by animals (people included). I agree with Army Juggernaut in the fact that dogs are still the most accurate at smelling anything; something about the 220 Million or so scent receptors they have (as opposed to the human 50 some odd million) kind of helps them out, and the fact that they are completely domesticated (thank you Cesar Millan!) makes it so much easier to collaberate in the realm of security. Is there not already Bomb-Robots used by EOD and Bomb squads worldwide? Should we completely drop these existing technologies and rely on new and untested technologies (when it is accomplished), or should we taking this Asimov-esque fantasy of a world filled with robots and throw in a couple of pages from Darwin and let the technology evolve from necessity in lieu of want?
i do not understand the "terminator" stereotype of robots like these. Like moquah-hunter said, there can be more useful things than many people can think of. not just the fact the robot can kill.
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