Big Dog By Boston Dynamics


Boston Dynamics, a robotics lab inn Boston has been given funding by DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency to make a military canine.  The aim of the project was to create a quadruped that could walk on mostly any terrain a dog can walk on, including snow, rubble, slick, rocks, woodland, virtually anywhere humans and dogs can walk.  And on top of that, unlike a real dog, it must be able to carry 400 pounds of gear.

The result is BigDog.  It’s a robot with four slender legs like a dog’s.  Engineers have always looked at nature’s ingenious solutions and use these solutions in their robots.  BigDog is no exception.  It’s leg’s are jointed exactly like a dog’s and the software it runs on has been programmed to make those legs move like a dog’s in running, walking, jumping and keeping balance.

BigDog’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.

However, unlike a dog that’s powered by food and water, this robot’s power pack is a gas engine (like a car’s) that powers its hydraulic actuation system.

Sure, the BigDog does not move as gracefully as a dog, but it does manage to walk over uneven surfaces, jump over obstacles and most amazing of all, keep it’s balance while sliding off slippery ice.  Cool.

Check out the video on their website as well as their other projects that are equally interesting. 

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