Rockstar Robots make up the cream of the crop in the world of robotics. These are the bots that will turn heads with just their name being uttered. Even those who don’t stay on top of who’s making what should recognize a famous robot or two when they see it.
For the month of May, to celebrate the latest Make: issue on robotics, we’re going to be sharing many robot celebrities so you can know who is who the next time you’re at a robot gathering.
While we don’t yet have the technology to build androids or other robots such as the Terminator, we do have the technology to build extremely agile all-terrain pack mules of sorts. At least that’s what Massachusetts-based Boston Dynamics calls their BigDog quadrupedal robot designed for use in rough terrain.
A series of videos were released showing BigDog and its subsequent siblings demonstrating their prowess to traverse different types of terrain in different environments with the eerie ability to remain upright even while being kicked. The DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) funded robot is equipped with hydraulic actuated legs to propel its 240lbs body. The beast is outfitted with a host of sensors that provide it to beware of its surroundings of sorts as well as giving remote users situational awareness.
Sensors on BigDog’s legs provide the robot a “sense” of balance, making it difficult to knock over, even while being kicked. In fact, there are seven sensors that help to maintain that balance including joint position/force, ground contact, load, gyroscope, LIDAR, and a stereo vision system.
BigDog has the ability to run at 4mph, climb inclines of up to 35°, and is capable of carrying a 340lbs load while doing so, making it a great companion for soldiers and first responders. Boston Dynamics currently has 5 versions of the BigDog line that decrease in size with each new model. While each new version retains the abilities of the bigger models, they lose the amount of weight they can carry. It’s unclear as of yet when these robots will enter service as each are still being developed, but one thing is for certain: They will be utilized at some point in the future.