If there’s one company that has the best chance of bringing the robopocalypse to reality, it has to be Boston Dynamics. Between BigDog, AlphaDog, Cheetah and Sand Flea, they’re building a veritable army of robo-animals on behalf of DARPA.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are working on a rescue robot that can take on both humanoid and tank forms like a Transformer. No word on whether it is a Decepticon or an Autobot. It’s called CHIMP (CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform) and it can work like a human (or monkey) when it needs to climb a ladder and such.
There are plenty of drones hovering overhead, but I have to say that mounting one of these ultra-high resolution cameras on one will make them very useful for Big Brother. Pretty soon, they’ll be able to spot what you’re having for breakfast from 20,000 feet in the air.
DARPA is looking for input from companies in the electronics industry, researchers, and other interested parties on technology that sounds like something out of a Mission Impossible movie. No, they don’t want exploding sunglasses or anything like that.
For a long time, laser weapons were the stuff of science fiction, but researchers have able to create viable laser weaponry over the last several years. Boeing and the U.S. Air Force flew the Airborne Laser Testbed for a long time before scrapping the project last year.
I’m frequently impressed with the projects coming out of DARPA, but most of the stories I’ve come across have been about their advances in robotics and defense systems. This new technology is designed specifically to save lives of wounded soldiers and civilians, and it does it with a simple spray foam.
So we recently saw Boston Dynamics updated Cheetah robot which is now capable of outrunning humans, and now we have video of the latest improvements to their DARPA funded Alpha Dog robot. Alpha Dog is slower than Cheetah because it is built for different tasks.
Remember the Cheetah robot, developed by Boston Dynamics for DARPA? It wasn’t long ago that the robot hit a top speed of 18mph, which seemed insanely fast for a hunk of metal with four legs. Now the quadruped ‘bot has smashed its own record, running faster than the world’s fastest man.
In November of 2011, we talked a bit about a soft, flexible robot that was powered by compressed air. The Harvard University team that designed that soft and flexible robot is back with an updated version of the same air-powered robot that can camouflage itself.
Meshworm is the latest robotic creation from researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University. You can try beating this earthworm-like robot with a mallet, but the thing just won’t die.
Whether or not you support the investment in military technology, you have to admit that DARPA comes up with some amazing technologies. A recent DARPA project is the Captive Air Amphibious Transporter (CAAT), which works much like a tank, except it floats on water.
Launching a satellite can cost millions of dollars – not counting the millions of dollars your average satellite costs to build. The military and various governmental organizations have satellites in orbit that are able to peer from space to the surface of the Earth to help soldiers get a better look at the battle field.
We talked about Innovega’s iOptik contact lenses in the past. The development of the lenses was funded in part by the United States Department of Defense. The company has announced that it has signed a contract this week with DARPA to deliver a fully functional pair of lenses to the research organization for testing.
Hot on the heels of the announcement of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, it’s looking more and more like Boston Dynamics will be a shoe-in for the competition with its latest bi-pedal robots. A recently released video clip shows DARPA and Boston Dynamics bipedal robots climbing stairs, walking on a treadmill and doing pushups.
Last week I mentioned that some early details on the latest grand challenge hosted by DARPA had surfaced. Those early details outlined a robotics contest that had some complicated steps that had to be completed to win.
Robots can be awesome (and more than a little creepy at times). DARPA is about to start up a new Grand Challenge that involves robots that can walk among other things. DARPA’s Dr. Gill Pratt recently revealed that the new challenge will involve builders competing to create a humanoid robot that can accomplish a specific and rather difficult set of tasks.