A YouTube video released by Boston Dynamics is making some waves today. They decided to unleash "Wildcat" for the public to see.
Many are already familiar with the slow and lumbering "BigDog" that has been in development for the last few years. We've seen it take steps to avoid obstacles and wander around with surprisingly lifelike motion. We've even seen it recover from falls and tumbles, slowly lifting itself back up and trudging onward. However, we were always able to relax a little bit, knowing that at least we could outrun this four-legged beast, should the need arise.
When Boston Dynamics showed videos of its "Cheetah" quadruped system that is patterned after the feline that shares its name, we were able to relax a little bit knowing that, even though it could theoretically move faster than any living human being, it was confined to the treadmill due to its system of hydraulic tethers.
Wildcat offers no such respite. As you can see in the video, this bounding 'bot could easily catch all but the fastest of us mere mortals. Information is very sparse right now, since Boston Dynamics hasn't provided its website with any details yet on its latest creation. The only information we have so far is from this video description:
WildCat is a four-legged robot being developed to run fast on all types of terrain. So far WildCat has run at about 16 mph on flat terrain using bounding and galloping gaits. The video shows WildCat's best performance so far. WildCat is being developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA's M3 program. For more information about WildCat visit our website at www.BostonDynamics.com.
Click this image to see a selection of still shots from the video.
goafrit, that is my point, sort of. American Football, which is more violent than soccer, at least during the games and between players. Soccer is strategy, skill, and speed, while football adds some serious impacts, actual tackles, and blocking. That is where a robot of some form could have a serious advantage, possibly with the option of leaping over an opposing player, which would be awsome, no doubt, or else just continuing to run after being tackled. And a robot able to take the ball and run a touchdown just a bit faster than those chasing might have a whole stadium standing for the play. It would be awsome to see that "big dog" robot grab a ball and sprint 90 yards for a touchdown, even more if the opposing team was just inches behind. I am not sure if there is a similar play in soccer.
No no - the football here is not American football. It was tried in soccer which is global FOOTBALL. I am not sure how you can do this with American football with the sacking. The soccer one looks at the collaborative part of the project.
goafrit, I was not aware that it had actually been tried. Another really interesting concept would be to just put two robots on each team. Quite possibly a robot might break when sacked, but possibly not. It would be interesting no matter what.
>> Consider the possibility of two teams of these robots playing pro football. Such an interesting possibility.
That exists actually. There is the Robo World Cup (soccer though). It evaluates how teams can work together to build better robots collaboratively. They use sports to test how efficiently the robots can work in teams if deployed in some challenging environments.
I will like to see what the military uses. I know they must have cracked some of these systems but leave them classified. From Stanford to CMU, this has been going on for decades and I can assume, the Army has a really better one which no one has seen.
I once commented to a bunch of robot builders about the importance of the fast-cycle, no-holds-barred Skunkworks methodology for getting innovative new systems up and running. The Boston Dynamics guy there instantly chimed in that they are true believers in the Skunkworks methodology for doing exploratory (pre-hardening) designs. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, in the galloping robots! BD really does do great work, even though watching their robots in action scares the bejeebers out of me sometimes... :)
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.