Ever heard of Boston Dynamics Robots? If not, you’re likely to hear about this company and their work regarding cutting edge robotics in the near future. According to their website, this company builds “…advanced robots with remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed.” The world of sci-fiction robots is quickly becoming a reality; while artificial intelligence may not be a reality yet, robots that can exceed 25 miles per hour or jump 30 vertical feet is a reality. Want a Terminator-type robot that can navigate challenging terrain? Boston Dynamics Robots has Atlas for just that purpose. Many highly regarded companies including DARPA, and several branches of the United States Armed forces have utilized the knowledge and capabilities of Boston Dynamics Robots. If you’re looking for modern day creativity paired with engineering genius, look no further than Boston Dynamics Robots.
Boston Dynamics is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, and a subsidiary of Google, Inc. While the company has vastly grown in recent years, it began as a much smaller off-shoot of MIT, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The original goal of the engineering group was to create robots that mimicked animal movement. Since its inception in 1992, Boston Robots has flourished into an industry leader. If you haven’t checked out the advances in robotics lately, now’s the time to catch up and see how classic sci-fi stories are becoming a reality today. Each of the following robots was designed with a specific purpose in mind. One robot jumps to overcome obstacles while another can quickly traverse flat terrain. Another robot can climb. Ready to be wowed?
Here’s what they’ve developed and/or are currently working on:
This “little” robot was designed by Boston Dynamics Robots in order to better examine the fundamentals of learning locomotion. Like its name suggests, LittleDog is a quadruped robot, which means like a dog, it has four feet. Engineers from may disciplines use LittleDog to research such concepts as “…motor learning, dynamic control, perception of environment, and rough-terrain locomotion.” Many prestigious institutions of higher education including MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, USC, and the University of Pennsylvania have used LittleDog in their research studies to further scientific knowledge and discoveries. Boston Dynamics Robots included several unique features in LittleDog’s design. First, each of this robot’s legs is powered by three electric motors. Second, LittleDog’s sensors send real-time information regarding joint angles and body orientation among other assessments. A typical battery charge lasts for 30 minutes.
BigDog appears to have jumped straight out of a sci-fi movie and into reality. BigDog is categorized as a rough-terrain robot, which means it can traverse a variety of terrains including rocky outcrops and sand as well as heavily forested areas. It possesses an array of different mobilities; it can walk, run, and climb. Tests clock this robot running at a speed of 4 miles per hour — sure and steady. While not the fastest of Boston Dynamics Robots’ creations, it exists as a workhorse. It can also climb slopes up to 35 degrees. In addition, BigDog can carry heavy loads up to 340 pounds; heavier weights may reduce its speed. Its name belies its size: this robot is larger than most dog breeds; BigDog’s more the size of a small donkey, and weighs less than 250 pounds. This amazing robot additionally checks in on its performance with several sensors that monitor its internal workings such as the hydraulic pressure enabling its mobility.
The total opposite of BigDog, this small robot weighs in at 11 pounds. Boston Dynamics Robots designed SandFlea similar to a basic remote control car; it excels over flat terrains. However, here’s where it’s comparison to the remote control car ends. This little robot can jump 30 feet vertically into the air to overcome any moderate obstacle in its path. While it can’t jump over skyscrapers, it can jump over one or two story buildings. The current designs allow SandFlea to jump approximately 25 times on a single battery charge. Boston Dynamics Robots designed the SandFlea to successfully navigate over obstacles, and they continue to create amazing designs.
Interested in a robot focused on pure speed? Boston Dynamics Robots has just the robot to get your adrenaline pumping. Boston Dynamics Robots developed the Cheetah robot as the fastest robot with legs in the world. It currently holds the record at 29 miles per hour. Several important features work together to make this Boston Dynamics Robot strive towards its name. First, it was designed with an articulated back, similar to a real cheetah. Second, it possesses a “boom-like device” to allow it to run in a straight line.
Remember learning about Atlas in your English or Mythology classes? Well, Boston Dynamics Robots describes Atlas as “The Agile Anthropomorphic Robot. Designed with humanoid features such as being bipedal, Atlas enjoys a high mobility. This Boston Dynamic Robots design can traverse a variety of outdoor terrains easily. While his legs negotiate difficult terrains, his arms can carry items or even move obstacles from his path. This robot’s programming even allows him to climb! He can scale rocks or climb trees to achieve an objective. The Boston Dynamics Robots team designed Atlas with a truly awesome feature: sensate hands. This is an important design feature because it allows Atlas to use a variety of tools just like a human: hammers, saws, rope…the possibilities are endless!
Boston Dynamics Robots exists as a truly extraordinary company that continues to represent significant advances in the field of robotic engineering. This ever-changing field continually shifts the possibility of assistive robots in the future. LittleDog, BigDog, SandFlea, Cheetah, and Atlas are testiments to human ingenuity and collaborative effort. Interested in learning more about Boston Dynamics Robots? You can check out their official page or head over to YouTube to review their current accomplishments.