Boston Dynamics is practically a household name around these geeky parts. The company is best known for its menacing robots, including but not limited to PETMAN, AlphaDog and BigDog. And now that last one, the 240-pound, three-foot-long, four-legged mule-bot has a fifth arm that can throw cinder blocks across the room. Because, you know, that's a good idea.
"BigDog handles heavy objects. The goal is to use the strength of the legs and torso to help power motions of the arm. This sort of dynamic, whole-body approach is routinely used by human athletes and animals, and will enhance the performance of advanced robots. The control techniques and actuators needed for dynamic manipulation are being developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from the Army Research Laboratory's RCTA program."
Looking a lot like a mini AT-AT, Boston Dynamics' BigDog has been in development since 2005 and is capable of running at four miles per hour, climbing up 35 degree inclines and carrying up to 340 pounds of cargo on its back. Boston Dynamics says on its website that "the ultimate goal for BigDog is to develop a robot that can go anywhere people and animals can go."