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 292006
 
TomCat Robot Cat

credit: Alegrobot, Inc.

Still looking to fill the void left since Sony surreptitiously put down their robot dog Aibo, I am always excited to read about any new robotic animals under development. The Raw Feed is reporting today that Illinois-based robotic research group Iguana Robotics Inc. has created TomCat, a headless robot cat whose lack of visual aesthetics is more than made up for by its performance. TomCat is available for purchase through Alegrobot, Inc., the retail corollary of Iguana, for $2750 USD.

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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.

Feb 142006
 

Ugobe Pleo demoA little over a week ago at the DEMO 2006 conference Ugobe announced their first designer life form, Pleo, a robot modeled after a one week old Camarasaurus. Pleo is the first offering from the new California-based robotics company co-founded by Furby designer Caleb Chung. In the weeks prior to the announcement, several tech blogs had begun ruminating about Ugobe and whether they could live up to the declaration on their homepage that their technology would transform “inanimate objects into lifelike creatures exhibiting stunning, organic movement and dynamic behaviors.”

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Feb 062006
 
Ugobe Pleo Dinosaur Robot

Ugobe Pleo

When Sony announced recently that they would be terminating their well-known robot dog Aibo, robot enthusiasts began looking desperately for another company and product to fill the void. Last week, Ugobe, the California-based robotics company co-founded by Furby designer Caleb Chung, caught the attention of many tech blogs, including Robot Gossip, who wondered if they would be able to live up to the promise published on their homepage to “develop and market revolutionary robotic technology that transforms inanimate objects into lifelike creatures exhibiting stunning, organic movement and behaviors.” Ugobe stepped up to the plate this morning at the DEMO 2006 conference currently under way in Phoenix, AZ and announced details about their first “Designer Life Form” robot, Pleo, modeled after a one-week old infant Camarasaurus.

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