For those of you that keep up on technology this is old news, but CNN just spotlighted it while doing a special on innovation. It’s called “Big Dog,” an animal-like robot from Boston Dynamics. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean. When I first saw it from a distance I thought it was two guys carrying a heavy load, but no, it’s one big robot. It’s meant for rough terrain and it is amazing to see it slip on ice.
From Boston Dynamic’s description: “In separate tests BigDog runs at 4 mph, climbs slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, climbs a muddy hiking trail, walks in snow and water, and carries a 340 lb load. BigDog set a world’s record for legged vehicles by traveling 12.8 miles without stopping or refueling.”
The Big Dog project is funded by DARPA–the US Military. Military projects thankfully are more than just about finding better ways to blow the hell out of another country and I could see all kinds of humanitarian uses for this robot such as disaster zones where we need to transport food and water. Or what about getting supplies to citizens in a war zone and Big Dog defends itself until the mission is accomplished? It’s the stuff of science-fiction and we’re seeing it come to life. Very exciting.