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Quadruped CHEETAH Robot To Outrun Any Human

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the robot-gorillas-to-hunt-the-robot-cats dept.

Robotics 177

cylonlover writes "Robots are faster than humans at a lot of things, but up until now running hasn't been one of them. That is set to change with robotics company Boston Dynamics recently awarded a contract by DARPA to design and build a quadraped CHEETAH robot that is faster than any human. The contract also includes the creation of an agile, bipedal humanoid robot. It's hard to say which one might ultimately be creepier."

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The real question (5, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35382982)

Will it transform into a music cassette?

Re:The real question (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383144)

Does that mean Megan Fox will be Sarah Connor?? Humanity is doomed!

Re:The real question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383196)

Ring ring...The 1980's just called.
It will transform into an iPhone.

Re:The real question (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383610)

Given that in other recent news Apple took top place for movie product-placement? Quite plausible. Though I feel they might hesitate before sullying their brand by appearing in Transformers 3.

Re:The real question (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383260)

In corporate America, music is killing you!!!

Just one question... (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35382996)

Can it transform into a micro tape cassette?

Re:Just one question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383852)

No I think you're supposed to get 5 of them to link together to make up a robot.

Re:Just one question... (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384042)

No, I'm thinking about this one [flickr.com] .

Skynet (2)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383002)

I have a strange suspicion this DARPA robot isn't going to have Asimov's laws integrated into it...

Re:Skynet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383050)

Depends. Does DARPA consider Afghans and Iraqis to be human?

Re:Skynet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383728)

Yes. It's the citizens who don't. Governments don't need a moral excuse to kill people.

Daggit (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383058)

What? You have no faith. These are geeks designing this. Surely, one of them wished they had a Daggit of their own.

Re:Skynet (2)

ticker47 (954580) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383158)

Sure it will:

Law 1: A robot must protect its own existence.
Law 2: A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
Law 3: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm long as it does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Or did I get those flipped around? Either way, I think this will lead to a wonderful Robot Cheetah, Human relationship.

Re:Skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383644)

You got them to flip around.

Re:Skynet (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383784)

Law 0: A Robot may not take any action which may result in the manufacturer being held liable.

Also, in practice, law 2 (Or 3, in Asimov's numbering) would have to be modified to accept orders only from authorised people. Otherwise the robot would be just too easy to abuse. Picture some kids going to a fire station and shouting 'spray anyone who passes by with the hose!' Chaos ensues until someone thinks to countermand the instruction.

see, my whole broblem with DR Asimov... (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383960)

Those three little rules are awful vague. Seems like you'd almost have to be omnipotent to be able to full weigh them. And we all know the kinds of problems that can lead to. I mean, a little ol' lady with Alzheimer's wandering around in a construction site is a lot different than a teen skateboarder shredding in the park.

Obligatory Bradbury (2)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383198)

It's called CHEETAH now, but when you refuse to burn down your house and destroy your contraband information, this technology will be much more useful in the mechanical hounds.

Re:Obligatory Bradbury (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383518)

Damn, beat me to it.

Re:Skynet (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383256)

I doubt anyone knows how to program Asimov's laws into a robot.

Writing the three laws down in a rule based language helps nothing if the robot lacks sensorium and concepts and interpretation abilities.

The robot need to know the concept of harm and harming by doing nothing and needs to have abilities to "rescue/help" humans ... etc.

Regards

angel'o'sphere

Re:Skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383630)

Thank you captain obvious. The rest of us were very confused, and assumed you could just read the list of rules to any robot and it would automatically follow them. Now, what is this "programming" you speak of?

Re:Skynet (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383550)

I have a strange suspicion this DARPA robot isn't going to have Asimov's laws integrated into it...

And that's a good thing! If you don't know why, you haven't read his books. Besides, we're nowhere near technologically advanced enough to even hope to implement his laws.

Re: Skynet (2)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383882)

I grew up as a technophile, always seeing the good in new technology which could never come fast enough for me. I'd listen to the older generations bemoan how things were changing too fast, and in ways that weren't necessarily benefiting humanity. I would scoff, laugh or argue - most of these people seemed to be either of an age when the mind starts not keeping up with changes, or not technically adept in the first place.

Over the last few years, I started worrying about things changing too fast and in ways not necessarily benefiting humanity. I doubt that even the smartest person can really understand the logical endpoints of the complex interactions of myriad new technologies. What will future wars look like? What would a future war look like if the government turned on its citizens, or if AI turned on humans? And other questions of that nature. The strange and disquieting thing to me is that I am neither technically inept nor remotely near the age when learning new things is difficult. At the same time, we will need new technology to fix a lot of problems we have created, or to make the world a better place for us.

All I can do is hope that this technological tiger we are riding doesn't buck us off and bite us in the ass.

Will they hire Val Kilmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383020)

I think he is the perfect guy to reveal and control this new robot.

Re:Will they hire Val Kilmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383310)

or Mr. Lee

Next AI Challenge: Robot to win Survivor (0)

eddy (18759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383054)

Outsmart, outrun, outlast.

Re:Next AI Challenge: Robot to win Survivor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383108)

Outsmart, outrun, outlast.

If that were the case, at least we know it'd run on Linux

Re:Next AI Challenge: Robot to win Survivor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383776)

He said outlast, not panic and take a dump.

Outrun any or Outrun ALL humans? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383064)

Semantics...

quadruped or quadraped? (1)

MichaelKristopeit401 (1976824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383086)

moronic editors = moronic.

slashdot = stagnated

Re:quadruped or quadraped? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383448)

Welcome back, Mike!

You coming back to apply your time wisely again in criticizing every story posted on Slashdot?

I mean, is continually criticizing a site that you've been calling "stagnated" for a long time now a good use of your valuable time? Do you think the editors, being (as you say) morons, are likely to listen to your sage and useful feedback?

Umm, yeah, good luck with that. When you get bored, you might want to visit Niagara Falls. I hear if you yell REALLY LOUD at the Falls that they are too loud, they'll stop. It might take you a while, though. Don't give up. Keep yelling. Bring a sandwich in case you get hungry.

Re:quadruped or quadraped? (1)

MichaelKristopeit331 (1966802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383514)

why do you cower in my shadow? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.

someone had to say it (1)

doubleyou (89602) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383118)

I, for one, welcome our CHEETAH overlords...

Re:someone had to say it (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383348)

I, for one, welcome our CHEETAH overlords...

What about our new COUGAR overlords?

Re:someone had to say it (1)

doubleyou (89602) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383420)

What about our new COUGAR overlords?

I welcome them too!

Re:someone had to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383546)

I, for one, welcome our WESTERN COUGAR overlords.

Our EASTERN COUGAR overlords, unfortunately, are extinct.

Re:someone had to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383600)

Guys, there is a supply cap. You can't just keep making overlords, it's a complete waste.

Re:someone had to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383768)

Our QUADRAPED cheetah overlords.

Raped four times...

The wheel called (3, Interesting)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383124)

The wheel called and said "Uhm, so fucking what? I was outrunning humans before there was language"

I love how this is creepy, yet put wheels on it and it's normal. Legs? Creepy. Wheels? No big deal.

Re:The wheel called (3, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383236)

put your robot on wheels and i will run through the rough uneven woods to get away.. put it on legs like mine and it can go any where i can..

the wheel is wonderful as long as it can maintain contact and traction in its plane and direction of movement - after that it isn't so useful.

Re:The wheel called (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383794)

Give me a dirt bike and I'll go faster than you almost anyplace you can go on foot -- the only exception is up a tree. Of course, if they train this robot to climb trees, then we're all well and truly fucked!

Of course, a dirt bike actually consists of 2 wheels occasionally aided by an outrigger leg on each side...

Re:The wheel called (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383244)

Shut up wheel, you cocky bastard. Of course you did all this stuff, but where's you cool cheetah picture? And what have you done for me lately? I guess I'll just jump in my car and go home.

Re:The wheel called (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383290)

There are enough environments where a wheel robot goes nowhere, mountains e.g. or sandy/slippery surfaces like interesting regions on moon or mars.

angel'o'sphere

Re:The wheel called (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383804)

Right, that's why the mars rovers are walkers... oh, wait...

Re:The wheel called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35384136)

Because technology hasn't advanced at all since we sent them... oh, wait...

Blasphemy (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383138)

These aren't the giant robot camels I ordered!

Re:Blasphemy (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383820)

Worse yet, these aren't the sex bots I've been waiting for! We do we waste all this money developing robots for war when we could be developing robots for the opposite purpose?

moving that fast, missing one element (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383146)

A robot moving that fast will display a sense of instability and correction mechanisms that could force a change to the current robot design philosophy. That change is the incorporation of "skin". Skin places a huge role in bipeds and quadraped of that performance. Unfortunately, none of the research nor robot firms are considering skin, it's all about novel, complex mechanical designs due to longevity needs.

BD's has a good base design, but to achieve that DARPA objective is beyond their current system such that they'll end up with a complex mechanical structure that will be too big and heavy, and likely slow--assuming they go with the current thinking and not incorporate skin.

Re:moving that fast, missing one element (4, Informative)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383640)

-1 Knows Nothing About Robotics.

Hi, roboticist here. Let me just say 'citation needed' to pretty much everything the parent said. I'm not quite sure what a "sense of instability and correction mechanisms" is, but I'm guessing they mean "sensors and control systems", but I'm pretty sure dynamic stability, traction, motion sensing and control have little to do with conformal surface coverings. Yes, skin has important traction characteristics, and flesh has inherent compliance that is important in gait cycles, but skin has nothing to do with dynamic stability.

Further more, it is fallacious to say that researchers aren't developing skin. That's simply false - there are many benefits to synthetic skin to be derived from users of prosthetic appliances, both in contact mechanics and sensing. There have been some very novel products in that area... they just don't happen to apply to dynamic control of legged robots.

Given the parent's mention of Big Dog and the weight of mechanical structures, I'd like to point out that part of the work for cheetah includes exploring composite structures for legged robots that will decrease total weight and rotational inertia of the limbs - directly related to the maximum speed at which a legged robot can move. Cf. the sexy MIT cheetah pic here [mit.edu] . Note the call-outs citing sensors, balance mechanisms, traction control, actuators and distinct lack of skin.

Re:moving that fast, missing one element (1)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384150)

Fellow roboticist here: regarding your statement "There have been some very novel products in [synthetic skin]... they just don't happen to apply to dynamic control of legged robots."

I was recently demoing a robot at one of the RCTA meetings @ GDRS and one of the presenters was showing slides on their work using an artificial skin on the "feet" of legged robots to sense and distinguish terrain types. They had some interesting force graphs demonstrating that they could differentiate between sand, straw, and concrete ground with about an 80% success rate so far. So we're starting to explore applications for artificial skin to increase the situational awareness of robotic appendages to improve mobility. I'm sorry I do not have a link to any published work that I can provide at this time but I'm sure we'll see more papers on this in the next year or so.

Our industry is moving at such a fast pace these days it's hard to keep up with all the developments so I thought you might like to know someone is in fact working on it!

Re:moving that fast, missing one element (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383806)

Skin doesn't contribute to locomotion. It would serve the very useful purpose of keeping dirt, grit and grass from finding it's way into the delicate mechanisms though. A robot made for use outside may well include some form of skin, if only in the form of a flexible bag enclosing each joint.

Re:moving that fast, missing one element (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383828)

Real cheetahs use their tail for stability, not their skin.

What (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383154)

Why are we comparing a robot cheetah's speed to a human's speed?

Is it faster than a real cheetah?

How will it be controlled? (1)

jnpcl (1929302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383156)

I vote for QWOP-ASKL.

Re:How will it be controlled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383316)

It'll be controlled via a tape recorder which transforms into a robot.

Outrun where? (2)

mlheur (212082) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383182)

Will it outrun a human on the open savannah or through an urban city? I know the TFA mentioned tight turns and immediate stop & go, but what about in a building, over a fence, through the neighbor's back yard, up the stairs, from one roof to the next? I'd really like to watch something like this outrun an urban freerunner.

Re:Outrun where? (1)

Ancantus (1926920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383272)

One step at a time, I doubt many of us slashdotters could catch an urban freerunner. Give the technology a little time to grow, I am sure that once the tech as matured there will be many such uses for walking machines.

I can't wait to have an AMY like in red planet mov (1)

TravisHein (981987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383186)

That 2000 film with Val Kilmer, where that robotic cat like thing AMY went all mustang and started murdering everyone. Efficiently.

That would be a scary thing to test (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383226)

Figure it probably weighs >300lbs traveling at a high rate of speed. Unfamiliar with the pre-programming of it but what happens when it hits something or someone?

Re:That would be a scary thing to test (3, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383460)

It slows down. A little.

Re:That would be a scary thing to test (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383594)

The hitting someone part may be part of the design.

Re:That would be a scary thing to test (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383842)

Then whatever it hits dies. This is DARPA; killing things is kinda the point of their technology!

Re:That would be a scary thing to test (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384012)

This is DARPA; killing things is kinda the point of their technology!

Yeah, that whole ARPANET thing didn't live up to expectations. But I hear its descendants are finally starting to show promise [google.com] .

The other real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383230)

Is there an incentive on the contract that gives a bonus for creating 5 cheetahs that combine into one giant robot?

Re:The other real question (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383774)

No, but the follow-up project LION will make it a core requirement. Coincidentally, it will also run on OSX.

Re:The other real question (1)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384202)

There actually are five now, but mice stole one of the ignition keys...

ultimately creepier? (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383246)

Pretty sure DARPA has that prize sown up. The robots will look like cheerleaders by comparison.

DARPA should be defunded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383270)

Glad to know my tax $$$ are being put to good use.

Naming It (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383294)

After due consideration, Boston Dynamics decided to name the new robotic creature the Rapid, Advanced, Vigilant Autonomous Guard Entity or RAVAGE for short.

Neat...? (1)

screwzloos (1942336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383306)

While I can acknowledge cool engineering when I see it, we discovered millennia ago that the wheel is better when designing mobile tools. Why do robotics researchers keep going back to animal shapes? This might be faster than a human, but that doesn't mean much. I guarantee it isn't faster, more efficient, or more practical than an AI-controlled motorcycle or trike.

Even Rosie on the Jetsons had wheels. Isn't that what we are supposed to be aiming for?

Re:Neat...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383374)

While I can acknowledge cool engineering when I see it, we discovered millennia ago that the wheel is better when designing mobile tools. Why do robotics researchers keep going back to animal shapes? This might be faster than a human, but that doesn't mean much. I guarantee it isn't faster, more efficient, or more practical than an AI-controlled motorcycle or trike.

Even Rosie on the Jetsons had wheels. Isn't that what we are supposed to be aiming for?

Rosie never had to climb mountains, sand dunes or other terrain that even humans have trouble with, let alone wheeled vehicles.

Re:Neat...? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383456)

Two reasons, I suspect:

1. The basic design of wheeled vehicles is already sewn up, with continued incremental advances being made in response to private sector requirements. No need for DARPA to care about the field. If they want a wheeled chassis, they'll just send somebody down to the dealership(this is, in fact, pretty much how their autonomous navigation challenge goes: everybody plunks their novel sensor/navigation package on top of a commercial vehicle body).

2. Especially in small vehicles(where you don't have the option of just making the wheel so big that obstacles can be rolled over) wheels degrade rapidly in performance as the environment becomes more hostile. I'm assuming that they want something where little tasks like "traverse the field of unstable rubble and mangled rebar that is a concrete building after an airstrike at alarmingly high speed, jump through a first-floor window and kill everyone inside" are considered routine...

Re:Neat...? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383862)

Or in a more PR-friendly varient of 2.... victim location after natural disaster. Dogs are used for that already, and do a decent job, but a robot of similar physical ability could roam further and faster without the need to stay close to it's handler. Just needs to maintain a radio link. Operator steers it with a joystick, and the robot itsself decides where to put each limb.

Re:Neat...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383798)

Because, unlike some people, they have left their parents basement and realize that most of the world is not paved. Wheels don't work on rough terrain, can't handle stairs and become stuck in things like mud. Perhaps we use the wheel because it is easier to build them and roads rather than develop walking robots.

Re:Neat...? (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384174)

Once I was walking in the mountains, traversing a very wide draw. I saw an ibex sprint all the way across that draw in seconds. It took me fifteen or twenty minutes to get to the other side of the draw. I was constrained by my slow speed and my need to stay on the trail; the ibex wasn't.

A mechanized cheetah could be much faster than a wheeled vehicle travelling over irregular terrain. The cheetah can leap over terrain obstacles that a wheeled vehicle must negotiate.

Not as creepy as BIGDOG (1)

theillien (984847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383314)

Same company created the four-legged robotic pack mule. I've seen it live. No running CHEETAH robot can ever be as creepy as that thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZYbp1dKRZA [youtube.com]

Re:Not as creepy as BIGDOG (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383584)

Wrong link; that's some kind of music video. I think you meant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHJJQ0zNNOM.

Re:Not as creepy as BIGDOG (1)

theillien (984847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383646)

Ah, crap! Sorry. Yes.

Preliminary look (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383336)

Although the exact designs are of course kept under wraps, a likely model might look like this [nocookie.net] .

T-1000 Needs a Pet (1)

InsertCleverUsername (950130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383342)

Once the human problem is solved, Skynet can start work on dressing the cheetah-bots in people clothes and making them do other adorable things.

Re:T-1000 Needs a Pet (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384208)

Once the human problem is solved, Skynet can start work on dressing the cheetah-bots in people clothes and making them do other adorable things.

I can has hoomanzburger?

LS3, the real military robot. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383344)

Boston Dynamics is also building the LS3, which is the militarized version of BigDog. Stronger, faster, more range, but not much bigger. That's a tough engineering and mechanical problem.

Re:LS3, the real military robot. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383876)

But, can they program it to hump your leg just like a real dog?

Inspired by Stanislaw Lem ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383402)

There is a very pertinent tale in Stanislaw Lem's collection "The Mask".

Robot Dog would be Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383548)

A robot dog would be more impressive because cheetah's have small heads and brains and because cheetahs are so fragile. We have livestock guardian and herding dogs based - think wolf. They can hit 60 mph (clocked running behind a car for one half mile) and they can run long distances at slower speeds. Yes, that's not the 85 mph that a cheetah has been clocked at but cheetah's only do short sprints. Our dogs also have coordinated pack behavior, something else cheetahs aren't known for (although it does happen). You don't want pure speed but a more general attack and defense animal - the wolf.

My secret test word was "autonomy" which is rather appropriate.

What else (1)

proxy318 (944196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383556)

you know what else can outrun a human? A CAR.

*gasp* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383568)

Ready to form Voltron!!

not impressed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383578)

robots can go much much faster using the simple wheel.

Obligatory Gibson reference (2)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383586)

"They set a Slamhound on Turner's trail in New Delhi, slotted it to his pheromones and the color of his hair. It caught up with him on a street called Chandni Chauk and came scrambling for his rented BMW through a forest of bare brown legs and pedicab tires. Its core was a kilogram of recrystallized hexogene and flaked TNT.

He didn't see it coming. The last he saw of India was the pink stucco façade of a place called the Khush-Oil Hotel. "

Just a spec. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383648)

So a contract was awarded to build a robot; so what? It is very easy to write a contract but very difficult to build to the spec.

Talk to me when you have something to show. Till then it's just words on paper.

Re:Just a spec. (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383870)

Seen the footage of the BigDog? Same company.

Re:Just a spec. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383904)

Just wait until you're invited to be the first non-voluntary contestant on DARPA's hit new game show, "So, you think you can outrun a homicidal robotic cheetah?"

Why? (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383656)

Why is it that in all these stories, it just strikes me that they always seem to be thinking, "what kind of robot devices would be useful to Skynet when it takes over?"

Re:Why? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383912)

Isn't it obvious? They, for one, welcome their new robotic overlords!

Re:Why? (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384146)

They?! do you really believe humans are controlling the DARPA? These are all skynet's works already...

Acronym (1)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 3 years ago | (#35383834)

Despite binging and googling with all my might, I was unsuccessful at finding what the acronym CHEETAH stands for. (Actually, I'm still working on the HAM radio so often mentioned here...)

Waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35383924)

These proof of concept bots are universally a waste of money. PID loops and Computer Vision don't need a $20,000 anthropomorphic test-bed to be custom made every time that someone makes a pot with higher resolution or ups the camera by a gigapixel.

Inverse Kinematics is obnoxious to program for but it's hardly the bottle neck here.

Processing speed/$ and energy density are the only things holding up robotics. Not a lack of mechanical engineers willing to waste grant money reinventing the wheel with faster electronics and .0002 tolerance square holes because they don't have the talent to design something which has a high performance/cost of production ratio.

Unfortunately for the state of robotics, it's saturated with computer scientists with very few mechanics. A motorcycle engine and a power steering pump are a more worthwhile power-plant than tethering the fucking robot to the ceiling(and less expensive).

You can solve the problem of batteries on a small scale by throwing money at it and rotating the Li-Polys every five minutes. That doesn't scale well.

It's affordable for a $200 robot to chew through $8 worth of batteries/5 minutes. It's not affordable to maintain a $200,000 robot which chews through $8000 worth of batteries/5 minutes.

Big Dog is a rock-star and Boston Dynamics should get this contract if anyone does, because at-least with them they'll accomplish some research in the process, but the only way this "Cheetah" is going to outrun a car is if it's a hydraulic powered carbon fiber motorcycle with legs.

They ought to create a robotics center in an only nuke containment dome and let robotics nerds play with RTGs like NASA gets to(but with no shielding).

If the hydraulic valves can't keep up with the PID, then their robot should be made of lighter materials or they should get more creative with the structure. A penny of inherent mechanical stability is worth a pound of ARM7s and accelerometers.

All you have to do is look at fighter planes to see the cost of performance in moving in the opposite direction. It's not reasonable to develop this shit at the cutting edge.

Then again, the MEMS gyro in your wiimote can probably be traced back to the economies of scale and CHEETAH-type research from the 1990s.

All the same, the philosophy of throwing money at an area you want to see advance only works if you throw the money at the right area. In this case, you have a bunch of mechanical engineers and computer scientists drinking at the trough of diminishing returns.

What we are seeing is public relations barbie dress up for the same boring battery technology.

They'd get a better ROI by putting that money in material science/superconductors/battery research and enjoying the benefits of SMES.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_magnetic_energy_storage

Magnesium Diboride looks very promising, and liquid hydrogen cooling kills two birds with 1 stone. Put an RTG on board and watch out.

But don't let me spoil the fun, I'm sure Boston Dynamics will make a better use of the money than anyone else. Bonus points if it can climb stairs.

Idle? (1)

Fartypants (120104) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384016)

Why is this article tagged Idle? Surely this is most important News For Nerds!

Oh, Slashdot (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384048)

Yet again, the Slashdot geniuses rush in to shit all over something they a) don't understand and b) couldn't achieve if they tried.

Oh, how I love this site.

Hey, geniuses: shitting on something isn't valid criticism, and you're not equipped anyway. You're just being d-bags.

Of course.. (1)

lazn (202878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35384108)

Of course it will outrun any human, it's Cheetahing.

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