BotJunkie and BigDog

I’ve started following the BotJunkie blog for fun stories and videos about robots. It reminds me how close I came to a career in robotics. I like the blog’s tag line: “From the folks who brought you, BotJunkie obsessively chronicles Man’s inevitable descent into cybernetic slavery.”

BotJunkie has plenty of weird stuff like snake-like locomotion (“Robot Snakes Crawl Up Your Pants”) and a robotic tennis ball slingshot for your pet dachshund, but every now and then I see a video that really knocks me flat. Look at the latest video from Boston Dynamics of the packbot BigDog.

Gott im Himmel! Did you see that great beast slip on the ice? What a piece of work! You can’t help but feel sympathy for the thing.

Robots really have turned the corner in the last few years. You can, for example, watch that dandified piece of clockwork, QRIO, mincing around on rollerskates. That was impressive, but it was really just a tarted-up excerpt from the film version of the Future. QRIO wouldn’t last five minutes in the real future, the one where you and I are headed. But BigDog… BigDog is from the future. The real future where he might have to kick ass in a Klondike barroom after humping over the Chilkoot Pass.

I don’t need a little Roomba with a vacuum attachment. I want a BigDog with a stick.

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