DARPA's BigDog Robot And Bradbury's Mechanical Hound
In his chilling 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury created the mechanical hound, a robot that accompanied the firemen and helped with their work:
"The mechanical Hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly illuminated kennel back in a dark corner of the fire house." [more]
In a recent contract signing with Boston Dynamics, DARPA has made a multi-million dollar investment in the soldier of the future's best friend - BigDog, the robotic carryall.
The problem? Today's soldiers carry a lot of weight; they need something that can follow them across difficult terrain.
William Gibson, in a more recent novel, wrote about a slamhound robotic dog, that had a similar kind of robot, but with a deadlier payload.
Additional references: Mobile Robots take Baby Steps, Boston Dynamics BigDog Robot and The Next Step - Walking Robots.
Update 22-Mar-2005: Check their progress; read DARPA's BigDog Now In Puppy Stage.
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