The video above, from the U.S. army’s Benning Report, shows new footage of a robot called BigDog–a sophisticated, four-legged “pack-bot” designed to carry heavy payloads across all kinds of terrain.
Resembling a headless, mechanical canine, BigDog has to be one of the most unsettling robots out there. But it’s also one of the more impressive–it can walk up or down hills, through ice, sand, snow and dirt by monitoring sensors in its legs and adjusting its posture accordingly. It can also quickly recover from a stumble or slip. The 250-pound robot, designed by Boston Dynamics, can carry 340 lbs and could provide a valuable safety addition to soldiers in the field.
“There’s no robot that can go where a foot soldier goes, helping him carry his load,” says Boston Dynamics president Marc Raibert in the video, which documents BigDog testing in at Fort Benning in Georgia. Currently, the combat load for soldiers is 145 lbs. If BigDog could carry some of this payload, soldiers could more deftly maneuver out of dangerous situations. Wheeled and tracked robots are limited, so a robot that could traverse difficult terrain would help save lives, say the soldiers in the video.
The company announced last October that BigDog had used GPS to walk a record distance of 12.8 miles on its own. Conceived in 2003, the robot is still a few years away from helping soldiers in the field. You can see an older video of BigDog successfully recovering from a kick to the gut here.
The miracle molecule that could treat brain injuries and boost your fading memory
Discovered more than a decade ago, a remarkable compound shows promise in treating everything from Alzheimer’s to brain injuries—and it just might improve your cognitive abilities.
This scientist now believes covid started in Wuhan’s wet market. Here’s why.
How a veteran virologist found fresh evidence to back up the theory that covid jumped from animals to humans in a notorious Chinese market—rather than emerged from a lab leak.
The US crackdown on Chinese economic espionage is a mess. We have the data to show it.
The US government’s China Initiative sought to protect national security. In the most comprehensive analysis of cases to date, MIT Technology Review reveals how far it has strayed from its goals.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.