Boston Dynamics in the US has developed what can only be described as the prototype for the AT-AT from The Empire Strikes Back. Although I suspect that the AT-AT could not do the things that 'Big Dog' can. This new robot is far more weird than watching the ASIMO robot trying to run, if anything it looks a bit creepy, almost like a 4 legged spider. Look at the way that the 'Big Dog' manages to keep on it's 'feet' while on ice. Video after the jump.
The potential for this kind of robot is amazing. Imagine how it could be helpful in rescue situations. Give it some coordinates and send it on its way with first aid kits and supplies.
Then there is the military use. Again send it into where troops are pinned down with fresh food and ammo. Or send it behind enemy lines with tactical bombs or claymores. Not that we advocate the use of technology in that way here at RD. Needless to say that this project is partly financed by DARPA.
This could also be utilised in planetary exploration. It would be able to get to places that the likes of rovers could not get to. Down into Valley's and craters, jump crevices and travel faster. Someone email NASA.
Here are some specs right from the Boston Dynamics website:
Speed = 3.3mph
Ascent angle = 35 degree
Load weight = 120lbs
Regardless of the end outcome and final use this is a pretty cool new robot and is right up there with the ASIMO from Honda, and Dextre the new robot arm on the International Space Station.
This technology has a bright future, here's hoping they don't take over the World and make us all in to batteries.