Via KurzweilAI: "The U.S. Army has released new footage of the BigDog robot--a sophisticated, four-legged "pack-bot" designed to carry 340-pound payloads across all kinds of terrain--up or down hills, through ice, sand, snow, and dirt--by monitoring sensors in its legs and adjusting its posture accordingly."
While this machine is very impressive, I'm not convinced of its practicality. The thing is slow, loud as hell and it has to carry its own fuel. I wonder if an actual beast-of-burden wouldn't be more effective...
Juan Enriquez has described Big Dog as passing the closest thing we have to a "physical Turing test" in light of its agility and adaptability. I tend to agree with him -- the machine is pretty impressive -- but it would be more so without the noise you mention.
Big dog could use the EATR approach. Cyclone external burning engine. Take biomass from the environment to power it. could also put the AA-12 automatic shotgun on it. 300 shotgun rounds per minute with almost no recoil. 120 frag-12 grenades per minute accurate out to 175 meters
One *possible* app is planetary exploration. I could see a version of this bopping around on Mars or the Moon . . .
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