Boston Dynamics, creators of the pack mule-like Legged Squad Support System (LS3) robot, has released a video of its slightly more intimidating BigDog robot. Both the LS3 and BigDog share similar leg design, but the BigDog is designed to fling heavy objects rather than carry them.
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.