What is in store for the future? Flying cars? Maybe. Dinner in a pill? Perhaps. How about 4-legged army tank robot dogs? Hell ya!
This delights both the Hummer loving He-men and the anti-war pacifists in us. Something that can kick ass and save lives! Perfect.
BigDog is a member of a robot family built by Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics runs a government defense project that seeks to build all-terrain robotic infantry, with the ability to go anywhere in any condition.
Watching this video of BigDog in action is both creepy and exhilarating. It walks like a Great Dane, but can take the hit of a two ton Humvee. There is nothing about BigDog that resembles the classic android statures of C-3PO or WALL-E. The inspiration for BigDog was in part, literally, big dogs. It was Boston Dynamics' intention to build "biologically inspired multifunctional dynamic robotics" to enable the robot to move in variable terrain as an actual animal would.
Watch at 0:46 as an engineer gives it a swift snap kick to the side. BigDog's recovery is remarkably close to the reaction a human or animal would have. If they could just cut out that less than stealth buzzing, BigDog must might have a chance on the battlefield.
Charged on the robot revolution? Looking to start on your own kick-ass android? Look no further. John Park of Make Magazine is your guy.
It's a good idea to start small, because the kits on BigDogs are a bit pricey. John has lots of little robots for us to play with: vibrabot, solar junkbots and beetlebots. Even these mini bots are taking notes from their non-android inspiration.
Looks like still have a leg up on the machines...for now, at least.