Featured Image - PackBot

Featured Company - Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics, originating from MIT, is a current developer of cutting edge robotics. This company is known for its DARPA-funded research, and it continues to produce products that are likely to revolutionize military operations in the future.

Over the last several years, Boston Dynamics' most popular project has been BigDog, a four-legged robot designed as a twenty-first century pack mule for soldiers. Amazingly, this robot can walk over very uneven terrain and even stabilize itself when pushed sideways. BigDog can carry over 300 pounds of whatever a soldier needs: weapons, ammunition, communications equipment, maybe even a wounded soldier. While BigDog is impressive, DARPA wants even more capability for a final design, calling the desired product a Legged Squad Support System (LS3). Boston Dynamics is working on a prototype for the LS3 which it calls AlphaDog. The goal is a robot that can carry 400 pounds, function with minimal noise, and walk twenty miles without refueling.

The most impressive project today is definitely the PETMAN, or Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin. This humanoid robot is over five feet tall and about 180 pounds in weight. It was designed for testing military uniforms, but we all know how versatile the human body can be. Perhaps terminators and robot butlers are not so distant a possibility. After all, would it be so strange for people to prefer robots to fight wars rather than friends and family members? And might wealthy families invest in upgradable, tireless android servants instead of traditional domestic workers?