We just can't resist, so here's one more video from the maker of the military's robotic pack animals. Check out Boston Dynamics' new AlphaDog — which was previously nicknamed BullDog — in a newly released, DARPA-sanctioned video.
It runs along a guide rail, keeps its balance after two guys try to tip it over, and rights itself after lying on its side, not unlike your pet getting up from its nap.
As we heard earlier this week, AlphaDog is designed to carry 400 pounds, last 24 hours and carry enough fuel for a 20-mile trip. It is also significantly quieter than its predecessor, BigDog, which further solidifies AD's position as leader of the pack.
This video shows a lab prototype undergoing early tests, according to Boston Dynamics. It's being developed under DARPA's Legged Squad Support System (LS3) project. DARPA and the Marines are expected to take this beast for a walk sometime in 2012.
This will be one awesome planet probe explorer in the future. I like to see it walk through some really deep soft fluffy martin type soil. This robot just needs a very small powerful electric power source to keep it going.
It’s very cool to watch!
yeah! ^^ replace the 400 pounds by the "nextgen Nuclear power plant in the suitcase" and here you go ^^
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
We'll have a suitcase nuke plant eventually, so if we've already perfected this technology by the time it comes around, so much the better.
Our space program might be crippled, but at least we're still developing our robotic tech.
it was cool that BigDog could recover after being kicked over, but just watching these guys try to push over AlphaDog is entertainment in and of itself!
why learn from your own mistakes, when you could learn from the mistakes of others?
dont mention the suitcase nuke generator, some people will complain and call u a naive dreamer. however IF it is ever built it would indeed be an ideal powersource for a planetary explorer. a few more generations of this type of robot would be perfect for a rocky terrain, able to climb hills and go thru valleys far better than wheeled vehicle. reinforce the structure and make it the size of SUV. the new heavy lift rocket shouldnt have any trouble launching that towards mars.
I want to put a saddle on it and ride it...Or a pair of M-60 machine guns, that would be really cool too.
I know everyone wants to ride this silly thing, but a combat motorcycle would be far more practical, not to mention a helluva lot faster than the 5 mph that this robot can achieve (especially with your fat a$$es on it ;)). Heck, a horse would would be many times faster, but if you point that fact out then certain people say that I have "no concept of future tech". I have actually long thought about modifying a motorcycle so that it could drive autonomously, or at least allow the rider to steer with his legs, leaving hands free for combat operations.
As far the nonexistent suitcase nuke saga continues to go, we have a rover, MSL curiosity, headed to Mars right now with a Radioisotopic Thermal Generator power source. This isn't "future tech", it's right here, right now tech. However, this rover doesn't supplement its power with solar during the day, despite the fact that solar is superior in almost every way to an RTG.
If you want to explore planets like mars then a vehicle powered by wind, such as the tumbleweed inspired rovers, are much more practical. Aerobots, such as a para-wing, are also more practical, even in the thin martian atmosphere, because they can cover more ground and get a bird's eye view of things. I have nothing against nuclear, BTW, except for the fact that it is often too expensive to be deployed widely. I would like to see a radio thermal balloon, perhaps using a radioactive lift gas, like tritium, for example, but I won't hold my breath waiting for that expensive project to get off the ground.
An RTG is NOT a suitcase nuclear generator. RTGs only take the natural heat of a radioactive element to generate maybe 500 watts. There is absolutely no nuclear reaction taking place. Of course an RTG is not as good as a solar panel (only in the inner solar system however) but neither would compare to a scaled down nuclear reactor.
A combat motorcycle would NOT be more practical. It would be far less useful than what they are designing this for, to go where wheeled vehicles can't easily. It is to carry loads with walking soldiers, not driving off somewhere down the road. We have wheeled autonomous designs in the pipeline for that.
Animals also are not a viable replacement for Alphadog, as they require more care, food, and are completely autonomous in a way that you cannot have any control over.
Finally... really? glider bots on mars? to get the same views we get from space? We send bots to test the soil. flying bots are pointless. They would also have to have enough gear to test the environment and would thus be too heavy to be designed like a tumbleweed...
It is really incredibly how nibble this robot is on its feet and over a variety of ground. I do not imagine anyone kicking it on mars, but maybe falling or slipping down some loose soil. The way is can be on it's back and right itself is amazing to watch. I suppose a rover on Mars with wheels is better in some places. But if it got stuck, it would be great to put those legs down and get out of stuck situation. Maybe a vehicle could have a combination of both?
Wow Scythelord you're very superficially dismissive about things of which you demonstrably you have no clue. I very clearly said that suitcase reactors don't exist and therefore could not have possibly been claiming that I thought an RTG was the same as a suitcase nuclear reactor. I pointed out what did actually exist (RTGs) to show how far things are away from having real, miniaturized reactors. If you want to butt into that conversation then you should at least read Beefy's rants about this nonexistent technology.
You certainly don't know WTF you're talking about with combat motorcycles. Anyone who has ridden a dirt bike for even five minutes knows that it could cover pretty much all the same terrain they are showing bigdog covering, and it could do it much, much faster. Speed is life on the battlefield. Some of these combat bikes, equipped with rocket launchers, could easily outflank tanks and therefore could take out a column of big dogs in 30 seconds flat.
Like everyone else, you make the throwaway comment that animals need food, and care, like alphadog doesn't need the equivalent in fuel and high tech maintenance. As far as being autonomous, I pointed out in the two other threads about versions of this robot that other animals are being experimentally modified already with neural implants to control their movements, so it is conceivable that they could do that pack animals or use simpler technology like shock collars. However, I am not actually endorsing that strategy. I am just pointing out that, in some ways, a horse still blows bigdog (or alphadog) away in terms of speed and cargo capacity, at least on a typical patrol mission. A mule would actually be more appropriate for cargo, but I mentioned horses only because of the speed component. The point is not that I want them to use horses, but to contrast how this gee whiz new technology is actually inferior, in many respects, to a very old technology, and that's even when we take all the hype about alphadog at face value. The reality is probably that it doesn't perform nearly as well or with as few problems as the manufacturers would like you to believe in their carefully controlled tests. That said, I acknowledge that alphadog does have some clear advantages over pack animals, but I think, for the average mission, those advantages would not amount to much.
Then on to Mars, you obviously know nothing of the many projects and proposals to fly planes or balloons on Mars. NASA has worked on a number of them, including one to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers flight, though it ended up not being launched. We don't just go to Mars to test the soil and a view from a low-flying aircraft would far different than a view from satellite. If you want an up close view of Valles Marineris then you fly through it, not send a rover to plot along at the bottom of it at 3 miles an hour taking "soil samples". Satellite pictures don't give the detail we need, but a plane or blimp could.
you're an extreme buzzkill, ya know that?
Us layman that make random imaginative comments on POPSCI articles, I always hope in my dreams the real super brains may read our comments and those who hold the money strings together read them too and in some tiny way we all influence the future, lol. ;)
hey hey everything i said was based 20 30 years from now with optimum funding. a small nuclear reactor is completely plausible. 30 years of technological advancement could yield one as small as a large suitcase. key word, COULD. as in possible. i wont hold my breathe but i wont say itll never happen either. i agree solar would be best as long as u dont need long lasting high output energy at night. once again, 30 years from now with the right breakthroughs, solar power could lead the world away from nuclear all together. also another energy source may be found to replace them all, pigs may grow wings and learn to fly. genetic engineering can do wonders.
speaking of which, is there any known microbes known that eat rust and produce oxygen? just curious. that would be very handy on a planet where the surface is all iron oxide. then again i could just be pissin in the wind.
anyway back to the topic, a small compact powersource and several builds and generations of the bigdog could yield some very handy machines. this is just getting started.
i think your comment thinking any animal even with brain control chips installed is any better than this robot. Any shot that hits an animal will wound it(with exception if it hits some packs) So if i was the enemy this would be my first target, trap those packs under the dead/wounded animal. you hit the Bigdog, and unless you make a lucky hit, not going to do a lot of damage. Trust me from a person who has taken care of large animals. The difference in care and management of real animals and robots is dramatic. While any decent mechanic has the potential to repair the bigdog, you need a specialized person to take care of even minor wound on an animal. Speed and mobility will only increase as software and mecahnics are made more efficient.
You may be right, but my experience is that robots are not particularly robust. They are complicated machines with delicate electronics. Taking out supply carriers is one of the oldest tactics in all of warfare, and these will always be somewhat more vulnerable than the soldiers themselves. I agree that there is the potential for these robots to get better and better. I'm simply talking about appropriate technology choices in the mean time. Since we have already sunk a lot of money into bigdog we might as well use those systems. However, it is also important to realistically appraise the capabilities of the systems we have right now and be able to see beyond the hype that the manufacturer may wish to create in order to sell a particular product.