A firm called Boston Dynamics have released footage of their latest robot WildCat displaying its funky running techniques. Don't be fooled by the pathetic trot it does for the first few seconds though or the fact it looks like it runs backwards, when it gets going it shifts pretty fast.
Boston Dynamics builds advanced robots with remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed. We use sensor-based controls and computation to unlock the capabilities of complex mechanisms. Our world-class development teams take projects from initial concept to proof-of-principle prototyping to build-test-build engineering, to field testing and low-rate production.
Fast forward to one minute fifteen seconds to see what happens when he stacks it!
If you haven't seen or heard of them before you'll be equally amazed by the rest of their robots.
LS3 - Legged Squad Support Systems
LS3 is a rough-terrain robot designed to go anywhere Marines and Soldiers go on foot, helping carry their load. Each LS3 carries up to 400 lbs of gear and enough fuel for a 20-mile mission lasting 24 hours. LS3 automatically follows its leader using computer vision, so it does not need a dedicated driver. It also travels to designated locations using terrain sensing andGPS. LS3 began a 2-year field testing phase in 2012. LS3 isfunded by DARPA and the US Marine Corps.This one is probably the most terrifying.
PETMAN is an anthropomorphic robot designed for testing chemical protection clothing. Natural agile movement is essential for PETMAN to simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions.I'm a little dubious of this one - they say he can walk by himself. Then in the video he looks like a Thunderbird.
Unlike previous suit testers that had a limited repertoire of motion and had to be supported mechanically, PETMAN balances itself and moves freely; walking, bending and doing a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents. PETMAN also simulates human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating, all to provide realistic test conditions.
Cheetah (otherwise known as FAPFAPFAPFAP)
The Cheetah robot is the fastest legged robot in the World, surpassing 29 mph, a new land speed record for legged robots. The previous record was 13.1 mph, set in 1989 at MIT.
The Cheetah robot has an articulated back that flexes back and forth on each step, increasing its stride and running speed, much like the animal does. The current version of the Cheetah robot runs on a high-speed treadmill in the laboratory where it is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump and uses a boom-like device to keep it running in the center of the treadmill. The next generation Cheetah robot, WildCat, is designed to operate untethered. WildCat recently entered initial testing and is scheduled for outdoor field testing later in 2013.
This one sounds like a frantic wanking session followed by the money shot at 58 seconds.
Sand Flea is an 11 pound robot that drives like an RC car on flat terrain, but can jump 30 ft into the air to overcome obstacles. That is high enough to jump over a compound wall, onto the roof of a house, up a set of stairs or into a second story window.
The robot uses gyro stabilization to stay level during flight, to provide a clear view from the onboard camera, and to ensure a smooth landing. Sand Flea can jump about 25 times on one charge. Boston Dynamics is developing Sand Flea with funding from the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF).
WOAH this one is about as impressive as Kiera Knightlys rack - pure disappointment until BOING he fires straight up into the air and lands on a roof. Awesome.
RHex is a six-legged robot with inherently high mobility. Powerful, independently controlled legs produce specialized gaits that devour rough terrain with minimal operator input. RHex climbs in rock fields, mud, sand, vegetation, railroad tracks, telephone poles and up slopes and stairways.
RHex has a sealed body, making it fully operational in wet weather, muddy and swampy conditions. RHex's remarkable terrain capabilities have been validated in government-run independent testing. RHex is controlled remotely from an operator control unit at distances up to 700 meters. Visible/IR cameras and illuminators provide front and rear views from the robot.
Ok this thing just creeped me out.
RiSE: The Amazing Climbing Robot
RiSE is a robot that climbs vertical terrain such as walls, trees and fences. RiSE uses feet with micro-claws to climb on textured surfaces. RiSE changes posture to conform to the curvature of the climbing surface and its tail helps RiSE balance on steep ascents. RiSE is 0.25 m long, weighs 2 kg, and travels 0.3 m/s.This one is actually a bit shit - so much so they had to rethink the name.
Each of RiSE's six legs is powered by a pair of electric motors. An onboard computer controls leg motion, manages communications, and services a variety of sensors, including joint position sensors, leg strain sensors and foot contact sensors.
"Lets call it the amazing climbing robot so people don't realise its shit"
Kinda cool company eh?