Jun 092017
 

Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics, the MIT spin-off and self-proclaimed maker of “nightmare-inducing robots“, has been sold by its parent company Alphabet (aka Google) to the Japanese tech behemoth SoftBank. No specifics regarding the price or the terms of the sale have been announced which is not surprising given we still don’t know how much Google paid for the company when it purchased it four years ago.

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Dec 292015
 
BigDog

Source: DARPA Strategic Plan 2007

At 70 robot dog years-old – that’s 10 in human years – BigDog should’ve had a few more years of happily serving his masters ahead of him. Instead, the US Marines have pulled an Old Yeller on the unsuspecting robocanine, sending him to an early grave, or junkyard as the case may be.

Created in 2005, BigDog was the result of a collaborative effort between robotics design company Boston Dynamics, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and researchers at Harvard University. Funding for BigDog came from the always forward-thinking Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with development guidance and testing handled by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

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Mar 042006
 

Boston Dynamics' BigDog

Defense contractor Boston Dynamics has recently posted video of its BigDog four-legged robot pack mule in action. Funded by DARPA, BigDog is being developed for the US military to carry heavy gear for soldiers across terrain that is not suitable for vehicles. Measuring a little over 3 feet long by 2.5 feet high and weighing 165 pounds, it is indeed closer in size to a large canine than a pack mule. Nonetheless, BigDog seems up to the challenge. It can walk at speeds of up to 3.3 mph, climb 35 degree slopes and carry loads of 120 lbs, following a simple path autonomously or more complicated routes under remote control.