×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Boston Dynamics Unveils AlphaDog Quadruped Robot

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the it-will-chase-you-in-your-nightmares dept.

Robotics 140

An anonymous reader writes "Boston Dynamics, the company that created the BigDog quadruped robot, has unveiled a new, bigger system called AlphaDog. AlphaDog, a DARPA-sponsored project, can carry a payload of 400 pounds for up to 20 miles without having to refuel, and it's also much quieter than BigDog. The robot is designed to assist humans in carrying heavy equipment over rough terrain, and Boston Dynamics' schedule has the first walk-out of AlphaDog taking place sometime in 2012, when U.S. Marines will begin to put the robot to the test for real."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

140 comments

much quieter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566288)

>> and it's also much quieter than BigDog

Sounds like they got it down from 150dB to a measly 120dB.

Re: much quieter? (3, Informative)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566526)

this one's not powered by the 2-stroke either, but it hangs from cables on the ceiling. The outdoor version would have to have some sort of engine, for BigDog that was a 2-stroke which is of course completely peerless for power-to-weight ratio, for the engine itself, and energy-to-weight ratio, because of the high energy density of petroleum fuel. Pity the damn things are noisy, and dirty.

Let's call it GammaDog.

Re: much quieter? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567340)

Forget the 4-legged version. Move on to the 6-legged version - better all-terrain mobility, if it loses a leg, it can keep going (there's a reason the Mars Rovers have 6 wheels), the ability to "crab" or move sideways a lot easier ...

And the name? - call it the "SCORPION" and load it up with Stinger and Scorpion missiles.

Or make a nano version, mass-produce them, and call them FIRE-ANT.

FIRE-ANT: "Thanks to its' on-board 'Chemical Rapid Analysis of Phermones Package' (C.R.A.P.P.), FIRE-ANT can literally "smell" whether someone smells like the enemy, signal other FIRE-ANTS, and within seconds, thousands swarm the target, each taking a bite, converting it to fuel, then taking another bite, until only the bare skeleton remains."

For domestic ops, "C.R.A.P.P.Y" can also be programmed to target "dirty hippy commie", "democrat", "urban poor", and "trailer trash", from a library of over 1,209 different profiles.

Re: much quieter? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567590)

A lot of that noise seems to be from the tethers that are carrying power to the device. It's obviously hooked up to a scaffold with a track or pulley system to support all of the wires.

MC Chris (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566298)

Robot Dog!

First motherfuckers!

Jesus fucking christ. (4, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566330)

Put horns on it, produce 2000 of it and have them charge the enemies. I assure you it will discourage warfare like nothing else.

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (2)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566618)

Also, while mutilating the enemies, have it play sounds that can be enocuntered in everyday life such as car horns, default ring signals, doorbells or top 10 pop hits to ensure the survivors are properly reminded in their post-conflict life.

Watch the movie ... turn down your sound (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566746)

Put horns on it, produce 2000 of it and have them charge the enemies. I assure you it will discourage warfare like nothing else.

Sounds like that's exactly what they're doing.

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567010)

Imagine the insane licensing fees if you were to play top 10 pop hits to random large audiences like that. The salivation wouldn't be from the AlphaDog; it would be from the RIAA as they raked in the fees from the Defense Department.

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566974)

Put horns on it, produce 2000 of it and have them charge the enemies. I assure you it will discourage warfare like nothing else.

Beware the battle cattle. -- Tabitha

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567072)

Meh. That's rush hour in Mumbai. Pedestrians haven't gone anywhere.

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567350)

Why would the god-damned thing carry four hundred British Monetary Units twenty nautical miles into the sea? The notes get ruined by the salt water. Unless it carries coins...

RPG (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567472)

Put horns on it, produce 2000 of it and have them charge the enemies. I assure you it will discourage warfare like nothing else.

Yeah cos they'll just line up for you. An RPG is much cheaper.
 

Re:RPG (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567842)

You are missing the point. A video of a single one without horns is deeply unsettling for a lot of people. Seeing a massive horde of them in real life would do lasting psychological damage regardless of actual combat utility.

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567522)

Put horns on it, produce 2000 of it and have them charge the enemies. I assure you it will discourage warfare like nothing else.

Not a problem. I've developed the Robotic Dog equivalent of a milk bone [howstuffworks.com] . Here Fido!

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567602)

I don't know what it is, but BigDog and AlphaDog unsettle me. They look like something out of Silent Hill. Maybe it's because their gait seems very unnatural, like a film that's run at double speed.

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569272)

To me the unsettling part is that the "knee" joints on the back legs point in the opposite direction from the front legs. It's like Xavier: Renegade Angel.

Re:Jesus fucking christ. (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568754)

Put horns on it, produce 2000 of it and have them charge the enemies.

A robotic DevilDog? The Marines will love it.

Mental effect alone... (1)

digitalsolo (1175321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566356)

The sheer act of seeing things like that running around on the battlefield is likely to be pretty unsettling for enemy combatants. One step closer to mechwarrior.

Re:Mental effect alone... (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566444)

Now all it needs are glowing red eyes, teeth and a flame thrower to top it off. Watch out for the next prototype called DevilDog or HellHound.
P.S. Excellent work.

creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566388)

The way it stands up slowly at the end...

I am terrified (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566394)

Watching it maintain its stance after being shoved the second time was un-nervingly reminiscent of a spider, but watching it get back up from its side was the icing on the terror-cake. I've already had awful visions of Asimo indefatigably running me down, now that thing's going to be pracing through my nightmares.

Re:I am terrified (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566472)

The next evolutionary step is Asimo riding the AphaDog into battle.

Re:I am terrified (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566564)

You finally chop off all of AlphaDog's legs with a fire axe, then it splits open like some horrible pinata and Asimo steps out and strangles you to death.

why not a mule (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566396)

A mule is a quadruped and can carry 200 pounds a lot farther than 20 miles. It has much better AI, it refuels with easily obtained biofuel, and in a crunch you can eat it!

Re:why not a mule (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566460)

Ok Mr. Smartypants, how are they going to spend 10 million dollars on one of these "mules"?

Re:why not a mule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567050)

Bionic Mules?

Re:why not a mule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37569178)

But a mule doesn't make you crap your pants.

Re:why not a mule (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566478)

On the other hand it won't walk continuously without rest or on-hand guidance towards an arbitrarily chosen remote destination, and it's not going to make your enemies crap themselves in horror.

Re:why not a mule (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566742)

There has been interesting work done on insects attempting to combine the advantages of the two...

Remote control cyborg beetles [youtube.com] have electrode implants in strategic parts of their nervous system, allowing you to steer them around at your command, while taking advantage of the fact that bugs beat the hell out of microbots at flight performance.

A large mammal would presumably be more complicated; but(in principle), one could graft computerized guidance into something like a mule, allowing it to be steered through preset waypoints or command signals; but preserving its biological advantages....

Re:why not a mule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567062)

And of course science fiction has gotten there first. The best one that I have read is "Floating Dogs" by Ian McDonald, a short story in a couple of different anthologies, including Future War [amazon.com] (also has Second Variety by Dick and a story by Haldeman).

Re:why not a mule (2)

danlip (737336) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567168)

But a mule is thousands of times cheaper (don't actually know how much the military pays for one of these, but I would guess it's in the millions, plus R&D costs). And providing fuel for the war in remote parts of Afghanistan is a huge cost, in money and lives (lots of troops die protecting fuel convoys). So it's really rather ridiculous to try to replace a mule with this thing, especially for a nation that is spiraling into financial disaster.

Re:why not a mule (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567444)

But a mule is thousands of times cheaper (don't actually know how much the military pays for one of these, but I would guess it's in the millions, plus R&D costs). And providing fuel for the war in remote parts of Afghanistan is a huge cost, in money and lives (lots of troops die protecting fuel convoys). So it's really rather ridiculous to try to replace a mule with this thing, especially for a nation that is spiraling into financial disaster.

You can't mount big guns on the next generation of mules and remote control them from an island in the Indian Ocean

Re:why not a mule (1)

Skywolfblue (1944674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568824)

You can't mount big guns on the next generation of mules and remote control them from an island in the Indian Ocean

Pfffffft. Lack of vision.

A true evil villain would mount big guns on mules anyway. Now to design a railgun that can fit in the saddle...

Re:why not a mule (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567622)

But a mule is thousands of times cheaper (don't actually know how much the military pays for one of these, but I would guess it's in the millions, plus R&D costs). And providing fuel for the war in remote parts of Afghanistan is a huge cost, in money and lives (lots of troops die protecting fuel convoys). So it's really rather ridiculous to try to replace a mule with this thing, especially for a nation that is spiraling into financial disaster.

Ever worked with a mule? There is a reason that the phrase "mule headed" exists. It takes a skilled handler to get mules to go where you want them to. In xstan, granted, there are probably lots of people with mule herding experience. When we invade Canada, not so much. Shoot at the mule, the mule goes the other way. Mule food is expensive and bulky and they don't do well on a diet of JP8. Want to drop a dozen mules out of a C17? Go ahead. We'll watch.

So there are reasons for Alpha dog, aside from the techno cool factor. Horses for courses, I suppose.....

Re:why not a mule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566554)

I think a mule is also a little faster than this thing. From TFA:

the robot will be able to carry that load up to 20 miles (30 kilometers) over the course of 24 hours without having to refuel

So, it travels less than 1 mile per hour apparently?

Re:why not a mule (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566572)

1) Better AI for now.
2) Relatively easy biofuel depending on the region, but this uses none when not in use. You always feed a mule.
3) Less of a PR fiasco if a robot dies compared to an animal.

Re:why not a mule (3, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566930)

A mule is a quadruped and can carry 200 pounds a lot farther than 20 miles. It has much better AI, it refuels with easily obtained biofuel, and in a crunch you can eat it!

Came here to say this.

I would add that a mule is nearly silent, which comes in handy when people with guns are looking for you.

Re:why not a mule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567206)

Sure, that's why we all ride horses to work.

Re:why not a mule (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567740)

And can a mule walk around on Mars or the Moon just as cheaply? How about dragging wounded out of a battlefield covered in nerve gas or simply full of noise and sound?

There are many advantages automata have over living creatures Not to mention that poo-pooing this kind of technology in its infancy is the most certain way to prevent developing even better stuff.

Re:why not a mule (1)

treerex (743007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568294)

It can be disabled with a single shot. It doesn't even need to be a particularly well placed shot.

Re:why not a mule (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568724)

1) Easily disabled (even a small glancing blow will be enough to make it unusable)
2) Will run away at the first sign of violence ( ... "Hey, all my survival gear is getting away!").
3) Hard to train (stubborn as a what now?)
4) Noisy (I mean, silent as the grave, right up until the point it starts braying like a car horn)

Or perhaps the most important point- AlphaDog is designed by a robotics company, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Researching and developing complex new technologies is kind of their thing. DARPA are unlikely to invest in a mule-breeding programme.

Put a saddle on it (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566498)

I wanna ride it up to the store, maybe slap an animatronic wolf head with glowing heat seeking eyes too.

I have a cheaper/better/faster alternative to this (0)

CSG_SurferDude (96615) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566576)

I have a cheaper/better/faster alternative to this

It can go for miles, can refuel automatically off of native vegetation, can be taught new commands in the battlefield, and is self-replicating.

It's called a HORSE!

Re:I have a cheaper/better/faster alternative to t (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566644)

True, and when you're not using it you can just shut it down to save fuel.

Re:I have a cheaper/better/faster alternative to t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566686)

Ever tried to transport a horse across an ocean? Or put in long term storage? Gets expensive, you can't just put them in a closet and come back for them 2 years later (well, you could, but their usefulness will be markedly decreased).

Re:I have a cheaper/better/faster alternative to t (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566880)

But with these you won't have animal rights activists hounding you when you install horns and send waves charging the enemy.

Re:I have a cheaper/better/faster alternative to t (1)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568488)

Great idea. Let's just mount horns on the animal rights activists and send them towards the enemy!

Once the enemy deals with them, we can use the horses.

Re:I have a cheaper/better/faster alternative to t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566890)

Self replicating? Really? And here I thought horses had genders, and required one of each gender to replicate.

And... can a horse go for 24 hours straight, as AlphaDog can? How well does it stand up to enemy gunfire?

Each has its benefits.

Re:I have a cheaper/better/faster alternative to t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567204)

How well does it stand up to enemy gunfire?

Bethseda sells a nice pack of horse armor ;)

It's quiet because power delivery is via tether (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566604)

The article mentions that it is significantly quieter than big dog. This is likely because the latter had an onboard engine that was really loud while the former is getting power delivered via tether. Power supply is always the last thing added in robotics.

Re:It's quiet because power delivery is via tether (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566796)

What if a big truck with batteries followed AlphaDog around with a tether?

Lets see it fall over and get up (0)

BetaDays (2355424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566628)

I'd like to see how it gets back up on it's feet once it falls over.

Re:Lets see it fall over and get up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566660)

idiot

Re:Lets see it fall over and get up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566672)

It's in the video

Re:Lets see it fall over and get up (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566720)

Yes I know in the video it shows it getting back on it's feet I meant out in the field after it has been fully loaded and being top heavy, since it looks like the weights are on the side of it to simulate it carrying a load keeping the center of gravity low on it where I figure the packages would be on top making it a bit more top heavy. Although I guess if need be they could unpack, get it on it's feet and then repack it.

Re:Lets see it fall over and get up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567014)

...No true Scotsman...

Your concerns have no basis. How could you assume that the cargo will go on top? Why would you assume that?

Re:Lets see it fall over and get up (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567874)

Well the summary says "carry" but not how. So lets see there are only two places I can guess at by looking at the video. One would be in the center where the weights (in the video are) are locked down so it would be more like a Trojan horse having it in the belly and the payload would be quite small. Also the linked article says "using GPS navigation and computer vision to follow soldiers while carrying their gear over any kind of terrain." I'm thinking tents, extra ammo, that type of stuff that will not fit in such a small space. So if it's not IN the belly and it can not be underneath because of how the video shows anything under it's belly would be crushed when rolling onto it's feet that means it would be on top. Just like a donkey or camel. Or is this just a small scaled down version for testing and they have a bigger one with more options on where things can go. I could see some rack mounted machine guns or other type weapons on it and if able to add the ability to stand on it's hind legs or something like that to make high ground for shooting from but that would take away any thing the soldiers would use directly other then it being a more flexable gun. I would like to know your suggestions on where you think the cargo will go.

Re:Lets see it fall over and get up (1)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567750)

No, you would pack it like a donkey, and have pillion bags on the sides to carry the bulk of the weight. If you could lead it like an animal, then it could be very useful in rough terrain.

Try self righting in terrain (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566696)

While rolling to center will work on a cement floor, I'd like to see that trick done on a hillside in the weeds and trees.

Re:Try self righting in terrain (3, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567146)

Considering the current alternative is a radio flyer wagon, one could argue this is better than no self-righting option. Off-road jeeps aren't terribly easy to right, but they weigh considerably more, and don't have a self-righting mode.
 
I can see dog and cow-sized versions of this on the battlefield in 10 years, but I think the ultimate goal is to put a .50 cal mounted machine gun on one of these things, or some sort of light artillery, so you can remotely place light artillery on top of a rocky hill, far from convenient roads. Self righting a walking vehicle designed to replace a 12,000 lb towed artillery gun/trailer and the truck needed to tow it, in the field - baking in a self-righting system this early in the design phase seems like a good idea, no matter how crude. You can always expand later. Many insects in my garden don't have a self-righting mechanism, so one might say we're already one-upping nature.

Re:Try self righting in terrain (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567782)

About the only post so far which actually makes sense. The military plans on using these things to deliver ammo and pull the wounded on a stretcher from the front line. Talk is abound about .50 call support, light mortars, and possibly even something larger light a 20mm or 30mm cannon. Lots have dumbly stated a horse or a mule is a replacement for this but it absolutely is not. When you can give a GPS coordinate to a horse or a mule, have it travel that 8-10 miles in and 8-10 miles out, after delivering cargo; while using the most direct route, let us know. If you have such a animal who can breed other such animals, you'll be extremely wealthy. Especially when you can finally breed one which will accurate pose as a platform for weaponry such as .50 cal MG, light mortars, and even light cannons. And this is just the tip of the iceberg; which includes carrying extra ammo without carrying fuel and water for a large animal.

All of which are why, of some 50 posts so far, yours in the only intelligent post thus far. Damn slashdot has fallen. That makes the signal to noise ratio something like 2%. Ugh.

debt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566704)

We're 14+ trillion in debt. Is this what we should be spending money on?

Re:debt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566814)

Hell yes. Didn't you watch the video? In the US we may not be able to make the cheapest or most useful products, but we can damn sure make the most TERRIFYING and CREEPY products.

Re:debt (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567348)

Clearly we should not do war research because there is no payoff.

Likewise we should boycott its products, so GTFO the internet.

non-sequitor (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569228)

Clearly we should not do war research because there is no payoff.

AlphaDog would make a great wilderness rescue tool, or even a recreational vehicle. But our society values killing brown people in far-off lands who supposedly hate us for our freedoms more than rescuing hurt hikers.

The money funneled to DARPA could be redirected to these sorts of efforts for peaceful work today. An amount on the order of the entire personal income tax goes to the military industrial complex - imagine if people kept that money how much would be available for philanthropy.

Mountable non-lethal suggestions? (1)

Commontwist (2452418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566712)

I vote for a quad flash system that combines the power of 1,000 pro cameras to absolutely ruin the night vision of people walking around at night for hundreds of meters in all directions. Non-lethal, silent, and the soldiers can co-ordinate to look away/close eyes better than terrorists who HAVE to watch the men they are about to attack/ambush at night. Maybe even an invisible, infra red only version mixed in?

Nothing says 'run away' like a weird looking robot thing flashing the light of a hundred suns into your night eyes/night vision goggles. (What would it take to burn out sensors on those kinds of goggles anyway?)

 

quiet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566764)

Did anyone else notice that the reason its quieter is that the original had an onboard probably two cycle engine while this one is powered externally?

There's no motor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566798)

It's quiet because there's no motor on it yet. Sheesh.

Capabilities... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566824)

Yeah, but does it run Flash?

Mud and water (1)

elgeeko.com (2472782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566856)

Anyone think this thing can stand up to a fire hose? It might be 'water-tight' but I have a feeling it can't pull itself out of 6 inches of mud...yet. Spry that sucker down and get the ground nice and muddy. How about a 4 foot wide crevice with a piece of plywood and dirt on top? Right now these things are creepy, but not the kind of thing I'd be intimidated by in a battle situation... but that day is coming fast.

Noise? (1)

Bleek II (878455) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566900)

So the article says it's much quieter than the bigdog system but in the video the alphadog appears to be hydraulically tethered. I don't think the on board engine is running.

Re:Noise? (1)

elgeeko.com (2472782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566988)

I think they made a mistake. Wait until we see field trials on this thing, I bet it has the same freaky buzzing noise that Big Dog has when it isn't hooked up to all the wires. Go watch some of the old Big Dog videos when it's in the lab, it's just as quiet. Personally I think the buzzing noise is the most intimidating part of it. Imagine a couple hundred of those thing marching at you making that sound, the noise alone would freak the enemy and send shivers down their spines.

I prefer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566910)

Apple Mummy

Very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566986)

But how is this thing preferable to a small wheeled or tracked vehicle like an Argocat? I just can't think of any situation where that could go where a wheeled or tracked vehicle can't. And unless you stick snow shoes on it, that thing has way more ground pressure than the average 4x4.

I'm sure they have good reason to spend the time & money, but I'm at a loss to see what it is.

AT-AT (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567080)

The Galactic Empire called, they wanted to send that after George Lucas for his crimes against Star Wars.

Re:AT-AT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567246)

Thats not the Real George Lucas... Didn't you see what they did to Brett Favre?

Jump, doggie, jump! (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567114)

That's not a dog. That's a burro. Dogs can jump. But seriously. Really cool bot. I hope they can program it to jump.

Dog and Pony Show (1)

fhage (596871) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567662)

Seriously. Puns intended.

Nice tech, but some of their claims are a bit of a stretch. It looks like a film demonstrating milestones to a sponsor. It's power comes via en umbilical cable and it rights itself on a level floor using plywood cams to do the roll and stop.

When compared to a donkey or mule, 4 legged robots have a long way to go. I live in Colorado and have done pack trips with animals. Here's what comes to mind:

  • Animals are cheaper and can self replicate.
  • Animals walk almost silently. Anything that stomps can be heard for miles.
  • Animals can run pretty darn fast, and can cut and quickly dodge.
  • Animals auto detect nearby predators and have more sensitive hearing.
  • Animals usually can auto-refuel themselves using locally available materials.
  • Animals can be a real buddy.
  • Animals blend in a bit more in a rural setting.
  • You can eat your buddy if you are starving.

Re:Dog and Pony Show (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568088)

When compared to a donkey or mule, 4 legged robots have a long way to go. I live in Colorado and have done pack trips with animals. Here's what comes to mind:

- Animals are cheaper and can self replicate.
BigDogs won't be working day and night, animals need food (and water) constantly. They can self replicate, but it takes awfully long and takes animal out of service.
- Animals walk almost silently. Anything that stomps can be heard for miles.
Donkeys also make sounds. They are pretty noisy too.
- Animals can run pretty darn fast, and can cut and quickly dodge.
Try to convince a donkey to run 20 miles.
- Animals auto detect nearby predators and have more sensitive hearing.
BigDog doesn't need to fear predators, also it won't try to escape at first sight of a predator. It can run predators over.
- Animals usually can auto-refuel themselves using locally available materials.
Not in deserts.
- Animals can be a real buddy.
Soldiers also bond with their bomb disposing robots and give them names.
- Animals blend in a bit more in a rural setting.
With 200lb of payload? You can just cover bigdog with some masking, it won't move and can look like a pile of hay.
- You can eat your buddy if you are starving.
You can lit a fire using fuel from bigdog and eat locally available materials.

Re:Dog and Pony Show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37568802)

This guy I worked with was telling me about a night vision video of some guys fucking a donkey. Suppose you can add that to your list as well.

Unimaginative Cheesey Names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567812)

ATTN: Boston Dynamics
RE: "Alpha Dog"

To the Project Managers at Boston Dynamics, please be advised that "Alpha Dog" is a shitty name, and your project shares its moniker with a terrible Justin Timberlake movie.

Please change it.

The American Way of war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37568676)

The Taliban use a $100 self fueling donkey. The U.S. army uses a $1,000,000 robotic dog.

The Taliban us a $200 bomb, The U.S. Army use a $200,000 EOD robot to defuse the bomb.

You could have predicted the outcome of the war by cost alone.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...