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Robot dog making incredible strides

By Stuart Turton

Posted on 18 Mar 2008 at 12:37

Boston Dynamics' project to create "a robot with animal-like strength, speed and mobility" seems to be firmly on track judging by an astounding new video demonstration.

The company was contracted by the US Department of Defense with the aim of creating a quadruped pack-robot capable of carrying a soldier's kit into battle, while traversing rough terrain including slopes of up to 45 degrees.

Earlier videos of "Big Dog" showed a Star Wars cast-off trundling across various flat terrain, but the latest video indicates the team is making good use of its $10 million Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) award. The robot now appears eerily lifelike, bouncing along like a demented Bambi, its legs splaying and bending as it slips on ice.

Its movement looks so real that we actually sympathised with the robot when a researcher kicked it over to demonstrate how it regains its balance.

According to Boston Dynamics the new version of the robot can carry 154kg, triple its previous load. Sadly though, there's no word yet on when Big Dog will be carrying ammunition into battle, let alone when we'll each have one to carry our shopping home.

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