Boston Dynamics is best known for their Big Dog robot, but they’ve created a number of different robots. Recently they set a new land speed record for legged robots when their Cheetah hit 18mph. Check out the video:
The Cheetah is funded through DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program, and while this unit is a tethered lab prototype testing of an untethered, free-running version is planned for later this year. They’ve also developed various robots for specialized tasks, such as battlefield reconnaissance or looking for survivors in the rubble after a disaster. One of those is the RHex, funded by the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force:
It is a pretty funky design, but clearly functional as it clambers all over rough terrain. It handles it better than standard wheeled or tracked designs, without the complexity of legs. But one of the funkiest is the Sand Flea, also funded by the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force. It is a wheeled robot, with a special trick up its sleeve. Check out the video to see for yourself:
Boston Dynamics has done some amazing work in robotics, I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.