Summary: Boston Dynamic's Bigdog

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, STAR WARS captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world. It sparked people’s imaginations. It gave them a glimpse into a strange, fantastic world far more technologically advanced than our own. People wondered if the technology in STAR WARS could ever be realized in our world—if we would ever reach that level of advancement. But for years after the release of the original STAR WARS in 1978, people’s hopes and dreams for futuristic STAR WARS-like tech remained nothing but that: hopes and dreams. However, recently, things have begun to change—reality has started to catch up with fantasy. And as technology advances, we get closer and closer to the imagined world of STAR WARS. …show more content…
BigDog was designed to be an autonomous assistant to soldiers in the field. It would follow them, carrying equipment to lessen their load. A one-cyllinder, 15hp go-kart engine fueled a hydraulic system which powers the BigDog to a top speed of 4mph on level ground. The biggest advantage of the BigDog, however, is its ability to traverse rough terrain. An advanced computer along with a complex system of 50 sensors allows BigDog to analyze its environment and navigate uneven terrain, maintaining its balance. BigDog is bottom-up AI: uses basic pre-programmed functions, and then takes in information from its environment and uses it to navigate difficult terrains, and adapt to its surroundings. In this way, it is different from the military robots in STAR WARS, which are all top-down. It is also different in that it is not a combat robot—it doesn’t fight—it only follows and carries equipment. However, the technology designed for BigDog to enable it to navigate rough terrains could conceivably be combined with something like a more compact version of the Phalanx to create an extremely mobile, autonomous combat robot, somewhat similar to the droids in STAR

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