Despite a steady diet of movies and television shows depicting robots as extremely capable killing machines bent on taking over the planet in recent decades, real robots have long been a bit… clunky. The incredibly complex mechanics of maintaining one’s balance with a walking stride, for instance, comes easily to human beings that benefit from billions of years of evolution and a lifetime of skill development, but has proved extremely difficult to replicate in machines. So, if we can appreciate how tough it can be to program a robot to walk, just imagine how hard it would be to build a robot that could operate in our modern world full of obstacles to navigate, doors to open, and stairs to climb.
Here at SOFREP, we’ve covered Boston Dynamics’ efforts to build increasingly capable and mobile robots for years, including this monstrosity called “Handle” that even the company’s own CEO called, “nightmare inducing:”
Back in 2017, we told you about Petman, who was built for DARPA by Boston Dynamics in order to test the resilience of gear made to protect troops from nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks. Petman traditionally moved while tethered from above, but aside from the cables, it was pretty difficult to be sure you were looking at a robot under the suit. If you were to see once of these things walking down the street, you might just assume it’s tough to walk with a normal stride in an NBC suit.