The Robots of Boston Dynamics Hardware | Military 08 OCT 2013

If the Terminator timeline Skynet evolves from anything already here, then chances are pretty damn good that it is simply a rename of current robotics company Boston Dynamics. Famed for their animal-like robotics funded by DARPA and intended for use by the American military, the things that Boston Dynamics creates is enough to put the fear of robots in any sane human being!

The latest release is the WildCat, the sequel to 2012’s fast running Cheetah robot, and seeing it in action is pretty terrifying – at the moment it’s only travelling at about 25 km/h, though if you remember correctly, it’s daddy set the world robotic speed record by running at nearly double that!

It gallops, it bounds and despite the Americans telling you that it would be great for “emergency response, firefighting, advanced agriculture and vehicular travel”, just imagine this thing kitted out with some scythe blades or a laser or two, busy chasing you down!

Their BigDog robot has been around for a few years now, and it is even cooler quite frankly. Able to traverse all sorts of terrain (hills, mud, sand, snow, ice), it’s capable of righting itself, carrying heavy loads, and is completely autonomous. And to make matters worse, the newer version called AlphaDog ups all the maximums of BigDog and even comes with a new bag of tricks, like getting back up again when lying on its side!

This is a nifty compilation video of BigDog’s major tricks:

And then there is Boston Dynamics’ PETMAN, a humanoid robot that is used to test the performance of protective clothing designed for hazardous environments. The video shows initial testing in a chemical protection suit and gas mask. PETMAN has sensors embedded in its skin that detect any chemicals leaking through the suit. The skin also maintains a micro-climate inside the clothing by sweating and regulating temperature.

In other words, freaky as all hell.

Yeah, I’m not so sure about this development work guys… (but it is bloody awesome!)

boston dynamics wildcat robot in action

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.