Search results for: boston dynamics

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This Boston Dynamics Designed Robot Is One Step Closer To Learning Karate

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In science fiction it’s a rather well established fact that robots and artificial intelligence are going to take over the world and either wipe us off the face of the Earth or enslave us and use us for some nefarious purposes. Those evil bastards. And now, as you can see in this video, they can do karate, or at least a damn fine impression of the crane technique from Karate Kid. The balance is impressive. And terrifying. But no robot will ever replace Ralph Macchio.

Just a heads up, there’s a super shrill, obnoxious mechanical whine in the background of this footage, so you might want to watch it with the sound off, or at least pre-turn it down. This guy is not particularly stealthy, at least not yet, and isn’t going to be sneaking up on anyone anytime soon.

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Google Buys Boston Dynamics And Gets One Step Closer To World Domination

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Wild CatGoogle keeps up their steady march toward becoming an empire. Sure, there’s the search engine, gmail, Google Street View, and Google Glass, but I’m not even talking about that stuff. I’m talking about the fact that the monolithic company uses deep learning, is developing AI, wants to cure death, and hired futurist and singularity guru Ray Kurzweil as their director of engineering. Now, they’ve done something else that adds to that already impressive and somewhat frightening list: they bought Boston Dynamics.

What’s the big deal? You might be wondering. The big deal is that Boston Dynamics sits atop the robotics industry when it comes to make a certain type of robot—the kind that could chase you down, knock you over, scare the living shit out of you, and then save your life. A group of MIT engineers founded the company in 1992, with the goal to focus on mobility and maneuverability to make robots able to navigate almost any terrain and perform a variety of practical functions. One example is the Wildcat, which could be used for disaster relief or military operations, or in bringing nightmares to fruition. The Wildcat, like many other Boston Dynamic robots, was funded by DARPA.

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WildCat, Boston Dynamic’s Latest Robot, Will Chase You Down

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At this point in our existence, we’re pretty used to the folks as Boston Dynamics regularly creating robots that horrify us and signify the eventual oppression of the human race under the heavy boot of our mechanical oppressors. That just seems to be how it’s going to go. You can’t help but imagine them as something akin to a real life Skynet. And their latest bit of handiwork, WildCat, is no different, only this new mech beastie will be able to chase you down over all sorts of terrain.

Though it may sound like a lawnmower and look like an awkward, lumbering collection of nuts and bolts, don’t be fooled, WildCat is a surprisingly agile innovation. Not only is the four-legged robot fleet of foot, it is intended and designed to remain stable on rugged ground and in a variety of environments.

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Boston Dynamic’s Latest Robot Can Throw Cinder Blocks Farther Than You

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Meet BigDog. BigDog may very well give you nightmares, or at least further your paranoia that, day by day, robots are inching closer and closer to staging a violent coup and taking over the world. Now they’re learning to throw, and not just to throw ball or how to play catch with you kids in the back yard when you’re too busy, this guy chucks cinder blocks all over the place, for fun.

Similar to their pack mule robot, Boston Dynamics went ahead and added a throwing arm, for some reason. Maybe their end game is to create an automaton to perform mindless repetitive tasks like stacking sandbags during a disaster like a flood or a hurricane. That makes sense, but we’ve all seen enough movies that we know the ultimate result will be that the robots become sentient and rise up against their human overlords in open revolt.

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Meet OutRunner, The World’s New Fastest Robot

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outrunnerThe world’s fastest robot used to belong to Boston Dynamics. Everything that used to belong to Boston Dynamics now belongs to Google, and now their robot cheetah, which could beat Usain Bolt in a foot race, has been dethroned. The good news for the robot cheetah is that it’s still the fastest robot on four legs, but the six-legged OutRunner can run up to 45 miles an hour on a treadmill.

Florida-based company Robotics Unlimited designed the aptly-named OutRunner, which is also the world’s first remote-controlled running robot. At a top speed of 45 mph, it leaves the robot cheetah, which can reach just over 28 mph on a treadmill, in the dust. Outside, OutRunner clocks 25 miles per hour, while robot cheetah slows down to 16 mph. OutRunner has six legs—three on each side—which it spins kind of like a windmill as it whirls down the road. Its design is actually meant to emulate the human form, which is a departure from the technique of most of these robots. It’s also incredibly stable, balancing itself on even rugged terrain, and can run for two hours on a single charge.

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Tumbleweed Robot May Help Stop Desertification

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TumbleweedAll you ballad writers and singers, get ready to croon. Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds is a robot designed to help stop the spread of deserts.

Didn’t know deserts were a problem? Apparently, desertification, the process by which dry land becomes arid and unable to sustain any water, plants, or animal life, has become a rapidly worsening problem over many areas of the globe. Scientists know that climate change, mining, overpopulation, deforestation, and widespread agricultural proliferation all contribute to it in some measure to desertification, but they don’t understand precisely how it works. Part of that gap in information is because it’s difficult to gather data from and about deserts, especially from their dry and dangerous depths. Shlomi Mir, a Jerusalem-based industrial designer, has developed a robot to help solve the data-harvesting problem, and perhaps help make a dent in the problem of desertification itself. Appropriately enough, the robot is called Tumbleweed, for obvious reasons.