A new all terrain robot called the AlphaDog looks and moves strangely like the famous AT-AT walkers from the Star Wars films.
Our childhood fantasies have just about come true: those walkers that first woved us back in The Empire Strikes Back might not be as far off as science fiction would suggest. Though not quite perfect yet, the AlphaDog prototype in this video has certainly brought the technology a few steps closer.
This robot is designed primarily to act as a mule, able to carry loads of up to 400 pounds on its back without slowing it down. As well, as you can see from the video, overall stability is an important factor in it’s design. Able to withstand the force of two grown men without tipping over is notable, and so is it’s ability to right itself up from a toppled over position.
If this robot concep looks familiar it’s not only because we saw it in Star Wars, but because it was designed by Boston Dynamics, the same people who brought us the BigDog quadruped robot a few years back. The project is currently being funded by the U.S military which hopes to use robots like this in the future to quickly carry supplies across long stretches of hazardous terrain.
I can also imagine what it would be like for opposing forces seeing a four-legged robot zip by carrying tons of gear. Probably a little jarring.
Currently the project is aimed to be completed sometime in 2012, with the first models ready for production at that point.
According to sources, due to the success and advancements of the BigDog and AlphaDog research, Boston Dynamics has started to branch out of the field of mule robotics and is currently working on developing a mechanized cheetah and a “two-legged humanoid robot”. Judging by how far they’ve come so far, those humanoid robots will probably be something really special.