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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Your tax dollars at work!

We found this over at the Mutts Blog - from the Baltimore Sun, and thought it was just too interesting not to share with ya!

They say...
It is known not as Fido, but as "The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth," or "BigDog," for short, and in this video by its creator, Boston Dynamics, the dog-like, gasoline-powered, Pentagon-funded robot shows just what it can do.

BigDog walks, runs, climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads.

It also whines annoyingly, a result of the gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. My only other criticism: It really needs a head -- maybe something resembling Dick Cheney -- to make it a little more endearing.

BigDog's legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, and weighs 235 pounds.

An on-board computer controls locomotion, and a variety of sensors keep it balanced, steer, navigate, and regulate energetics as conditions vary.

It has trotted at 3.3 mph, climbed a 35-degree slope, carried a 120-pound load and easily traverses snow, ice and rocks.

Boston Dynamics, an MIT spinoff, received $10 million in funding from the Pentagon to produce the robot.

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