Robots: All-Terrain Big Dog, Quadruped

by Irma Arkus

Watching Boston Dynamics’ Big Dog, a quadruped robot resembling only bottom half of a mule, as it struggles to maintain its balance (and succeds!) on an icy ground is nothing short of amazing.

Big Dog runs, walks and climbs on rough terrain, as its slender legs, similar to that of a dog or a deer (or something alive and organic) allow it to carry heavy loads while absorbing shocks. It maintains its balance in situations that not even yours truly, an average biped could.

The loads it can carry go up to 340lb, and it can succesfully climb inclined terrain of up to 35 degrees.

The really amazing part of Big Dog is its leg structure. Meant to copy what works best in nature, Big Dog’s legs combine multiplicity of joints regulated by an intricate sensor network, allowing it to maintain balance and navigate across variety of terrain including ice and rubble.

See for yourself: Big Dog walks on ice, hillside, and navigates through rubble.