Tag Archives: DARPA

Augmented Reality? Real Reality? I don’t know.

We are suddenly seeing all kinds of alternate ‘realities’ being made possible through technology. The most common of these is the oxymoronic virtual reality, which although an idea for decades (it even had a web language known as VRML that would allow 3-d worlds inside a web browser), now seems as though it might actually be coming to fruition thanks to Sony’s PS4-based Project Morpheus, due in early 2016, HTC/Valve’s PC-based Re Vive which came out of nowhere and is due later this year, and the now-owned-by-Facebook Oculus Rift, due…sometime.

Big Dog and Exoskeletons

Seeing as today is Veteran’s Day, I wanted to show you the Big Dog robot, which is at once both creepy and cuddly (tell me you don’t feel for it when the guy tries to kick it over) and exoskeletons, both being developed to aid in lugging heavy equipment around often inhospitable terrain.

First up is the Big Dog, being developed by robotics firm Boston Dynamics and DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which develops new military technology and was instrumental in the creation of the original Internet.

Together, they have developed the Big Dog, a robot that can maintain balance (something that is very difficult for robots to do, so much so it has become an area of study all its own). Even when it is kicked, or placed on a hill, or sliding on ice, it can keep upright and continue along. It is able to carry about 350 pounds of equipment and maintain pace with soldiers even in adverse weather, obstacles, and inclines.

It’s loud, as you can see in the video below, so it wouldn’t be very good for covert operations, and while it may appear unnatural, I’ll say it again: try and tell me you didn’t feel for it when the guy tries to kick it over or it slips on the ice. If you’re interested, Boston Dynamics also has the ATLAS robot, that’s pretty remarkable in its own right.

Next is the exoskeleton being developed, as the linked article states, by several companies including Raytheon’s XOS 2 and Lockheed-Martin’s Fortis. Both are meant to ease the burden of carrying heavy equipment around in military operations, prevent the associated injuries and strain that can result, and perhaps most importantly, have already been used to help those who are handicapped get some movement back, even finish a marathon, and this one operates on technology developed from the mind-control technology presented in this earlier post. Amazing.

Watch it work below:

Going Up