A new video of a Boston Dynamics robot has surfaced–possibly the scariest yet. The company’s name alone should give you the willies if you’ve watched the Terminator movies or seen the previous chilling robots BD makes. We’ve rounded up the videos for you. Happy Halloween.
Boston Dynamics is a small engineering and robotics firm spun off from MIT in 1992. According to its own Web site it “builds advanced robots with remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed.” Those parameters sound kinda military-like for a reason: BD has worked with DARPA, the Army, the Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as the more innocuous-sounding Sony. Their current starting lineup:
And before you think that sounds pretty Cyberdine Systems-sy, check out the video of Petman in action. It’s a prototype bipedal robot from BD that walks with extraordinarily human-like gait–it even heel-toes, and does so with a dynamic sense of balance that means it can take a solid kick and still keep walking.
Makes the cute Asimo seem like the walking equivalent of a robotic grandpa doesn’t it? Technically BD says its an “anthropomorphic robot for testing chemcial protection clothing […] Unlike previous suit testers, which had to be supported mechanically an had a limited repertoire of motion, Petman will balance itself and move freely; walking, crawling […] Petman will also simulate human physiology within the protective suit by […] sweating when necessary.” But if you didn’t get a shiver from imagining the next gen of the sweaty thing with arms and a head, painted silver instead of black and wielding a gun then … well, you’ve not got a very active imagination.
This is perhaps BD’s most famous ‘bot, designed to act something like a robotic packhorse to aid soldiers in the field of battle. Its four legs make it highly sure-footed, and it’ll be smart enough to be able to maneuver semi-autonomously when it hits its final military specification levels.
Think Big Dog but more petite–and try to banish thoughts of tiny robots creeping into buildings via drains or under fences, all to assassinate bad guys.
The last beastie is a six-legged smart climbing robot that has adhesive feet to let it scale even the most unforgiving and sheer building walls.
All that’s left for us is to wonder what Petman and Big Dog and all the rest will evolve into over time: We’re pretty sure we heard Petman muttering something about his plan to “be back.”