Boston Dynamics Unveil BigDog Progress
Boston Dynamics released a new video of BigDog the other day. The improvements since last yearâ€™s demo are absolutely incredible. BigDog can now maneuver up and down rugged hills, balance on ice and jump. Iâ€™m not an avid fan of exclamation marks, but wow! In my honest opinion this quadruped is the most life-like robot made to date. Must-see video after the jump.
The New BigDog Video
Loving the Machine
Itâ€™s so interesting how most people Iâ€™ve talked to (and me myself) feel an emotional response when BigDog is slipping or being kicked. I felt like giving it a hand to balance on the ice â€”Â although on second thought Iâ€™m sure heâ€™d crush me with his frantic maneuvers. The version of BigDog in the video weighs 106Kg (235 lbs).
The speed and agility of the feet give the fellow such natural (â€messy instinctsâ€) appearance that itâ€™s hard to keep in mind itâ€™s a machine. Unbelievable.
The control system depends heavily on internal state, awareness of joint positions, acceleration et cetera â€” which enables intelligent, real-time control. I hope the technologies spread to consumer markets, rather than being exclusively used for military purposes (this is what the AIBO shouldâ€™ve looked like).
BigDog has an on-board computer that controls locomotion, servos the legs and handles a wide variety of sensors. BigDogâ€™s control system manages the dynamics of its behavior to keep it balanced, steer, navigate, and regulate energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a laser gyroscope, and a stereo vision system. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, battery charge and others. [BostonDynamics]
Boston Dynamics are also the creators of RiSE â€” an insect-like hexapod robot that climbs; and whose video demo ranked 10th in the most popular robot videos. A hat tip to the Boston Dynamics team for their achievements.
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