Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Boston Dynamics' BigDog Video Spawns Parodies

Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert sent an e-mail last month offering a sneak peek of a new video of the company's gasoline-powered robotic dog, BigDog. The 'bot was shown climbing in snow, and slipping on an icy parking lot -- before recovering its balance.

Then, earlier this month, after getting the proper approvals from DARPA (the Dept. of Defense agency funding the project), the BigDog video appeared on YouTube. It has since amassed almost four million views. Here it is:

Now, parodies and mash-ups are cropping up everywhere... a sure sign that Boston Dynamics, headquartered in Waltham, has achieved not just technical success (they call BigDog "the most advanced quadruped robot on earth"), but viral video success.

Two of the better ones:

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Robo-Dog Fetches $10 Million in Funding

Boston Dynamics is getting $10 million from DARPA to continue development of BigDog, a robotic dog that may eventually be able to carry equipment for soldiers or run ahead to survey an area (but not fetch a paper, since the robo-dog has no head or jaws.) So far, according to Boston Dynamics, "BigDog has trotted at 3.3 mph, climbed a 35 degree slope and carried a 120 lb load." (In 2004, I wrote about BigDog, along with other robots based on animal models, for the NY Times.)

Here's a video clip of BigDog in action...unbelievably cool when someone tries to knock it over and it regains its footing without falling.

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