Spot, DARPA's four-legged robotic pack mule, shows off nimbler moves and a quieter drive system than its predecessor.
Building a four-legged robot that can walk without falling or tripping over its own feet is a pretty difficult thing to do. You wouldn’t guess that by watching Spot strut its stuff.
This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Larry Greenemeier. Got a minute?
Boston Dynamics, which is now part of Google, built Spot for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as proof they could create a nimbler, quieter version of the company’s previous quadrupeds. Spot runs on a lithium ion battery mounted in its belly that drives an electric motor. The motor powers a hydraulic system that, along with dozens of sensors, allows the robot to control the position of its legs while walking.
Outside of buying more aerial drones, quadrupeds are the Pentagon’s best bet for upgrading their robot fleet, at least for now. As we saw at DARPA’s Robotics Challenge in 2015, machines that stand upright and try to mimic human behavior are still a few years away from being useful.
Not to mention, Spot’s got an impressive number of dance moves—okay, now you’re just showing off.
Thanks for the minute. For Scientific American’s 60-Second Science, I’m Larry Greenemeier.
Tech: Bouncing Bots
Executive Producers: Eliene Augenbraun
Producer: Benjamin Meyers
Writer and Narrator: Larry Greenemeier
Special Thanks: Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA)