In 2005, Boston Dynamics unveiled its robot "mule," Big Dog
. Now it has a smaller, nimbler littermate called Spot that can take a good kick. Weighing in at 160 lb (72.5 kg), the electrically-powered, hydraulically-actuated, four-legged robot made its debut in a YouTube video released by the company on Tuesday.
Who wouldn't want to slip into Iron Man's armor or try out the gigantic Jaegers that saved the world in the movie Pacific Rim
? Wearable exoskeletons currently being built, from the military-based TALOS
, XOS 2
to rehabilitative models like the ReWalk
, all have one thing in common; they are all robotic automated body suits designed to enhance or assist people. Is there a place for a skill-oriented, non-robotic walking exoskeleton, that a person would have to master physically by feel, much like how one might master riding a bicycle or using a skateboard? Jonathan Tippet thinks so. He and his team of volunteers are building Prosthesis, claimed to be the world's first human-piloted racing robot. It's a 5-meter (16-ft) tall behemoth that will rely entirely on the pilot's skill to balance itself or walk or run.
Boston Dynamics, the company behind DARPA's most advanced legged robots such as PETMAN, BigDog, and Atlas, has unveiled the free-roaming version of their sprinting robot Cheetah. The new robot is called WildCat, and it's already galloping at speeds up to 16 mph (25.7 km/h) on flat ground. You don't want to miss the video tucked after the break.
Similar in size to Boston Dynamics' BigDog
, the HyQ hydraulically-actuated quadruped robot can walk, trot, kick, and jump, but its reflexes need an upgrade before it can move from flat ground to more challenging terrain. To that end, researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology's (IIT) have developed an animal-like step reflex algorithm that quickly detects when the robot's feet run into obstacles, preventing trips and falls.
If you thought the monkey-like robot AMEE seen in the Val Kilmer sci-fi flick Red Planet
was a tad far-fetched, think again. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen are working on an ape-like robot called the iStruct Demonstrator that it classifies as a "Space Robot." Lately the mechanical monkey has been practicing how to walk and balance in the center's mock lunar landscape.
Though there's much work to be done before miniature robots move exactly like insects, Harvard Microrobotics Lab is making strides with its latest prototypes. It recently demonstrated the Harvard Ambulatory MicroRobot (HAMR), a 4.4 cm quadruped that scurries around at up to 8.4 body lengths per second.
Boston Dynamics' BigDog may have already been replaced by the beefier LS3
, but that doesn't mean it's totally obsolete. Today the company unveiled a version of the quadruped equipped with an arm where a head (or tail) would go. As can be seen in the following video, it's powerful enough to lift and toss a heavy cinder block.
DARPA's robotic pack mule, the Legged Squad Support System
(or LS3 for short) is now following orders and its master, going where no robot has gone before. In a recently published video, the impressive quadruped robot developed by Boston Dynamics climbs up and down hills, scrambles over logs, bobs and weaves through woods, and even takes an impromptu dip in a bog before leaving the obstacle-ridden forest and picking up the pace. Video after the break.
Toshiba has unveiled a four-legged inspection robot, which will carry out work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where people cannot go. The newly developed robot – simply called a Quadruped walking robot – comes equipped with a smaller wheeled robot that can be deployed to navigate hard-to-reach areas. The legged robot can negotiate stairs, uneven terrain, and is able to avoid low-lying obstacles.
Fans of freaky-looking robots will already be familiar with DARPA’s quadruped Legged Squad Support System, or LS3
(although it’s also known as Big Dog by its builder, Boston Dynamics). Yesterday, two prototypes of an improved version of the LS3 were demonstrated, and DARPA has posted the video to show off what’s new.