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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"BigDog," Back to the Future

The mule has long been the mascot of the United States Army because it was used extensively through several wars to bring men and materiel to the battlefront. Replaced by the venerable JEEP in WWII, there remained things that the mule could do that no mechanical device could replicate. Operations in Burma, India and parts of China in 1944-45 could not have succeeded without the use of mules to supply forward units. The military is now testing a “mule” developed by Boston Dynamics that they call BigDog. Whether it is ever adopted by our armed forces, it is really pretty cool and a remarkable piece of engineering.

The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth

BigDog is the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics family of robots. It is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog's legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight.


1 comments:

Bob Ellis said...

That is absolutely amazing!

My wife's grandfather was in the artillery in the Pacific campaign of WWII, and they used mules to transport their artillery and other equipment.

I wish he was still alive to see this. He'd have got such an incredible kick out of seeing something like this and imagining it in his old unit.

 
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