[Cyborg] AlphaDog >> BigDog

Tomm tomm.fire at gmail.com
Mon Oct 3 03:03:12 UTC 2011

Cool, but a little creepy. $32M is just the amount given in 2010: 
they've already received at least $42M already, and the development 
process is worth describing because it's really interesting combination 
of military, academic, and commercial development.

In late 2005, DARPA gave about $2M to Boston Dynamics to make the Little 
Dog, a 12" long robot with sensors in each foot.  Then in 2006, DARPA 
challenged six different university teams (Carnegie Melon, MIT, USC, 
UPenn, et al)  to write software that allowed the Little Dog to navigate 
hazards, thus giving many different groups a shot at writing the 
software (which is the hard part of the problem).

Based on success with the small dog, DARPA gave Boston Dynamics another 
$10M in 2007, with options for $10 million a year for 3 years, or $40M 
total.  I don't know which team(s) did well on the software side, but 
they were and almost certainly are getting millions in development 
money, too.  My guess is that DARPA now has $100 million+ into the project.



On 9/30/11 9:50 AM, Eric Boyd wrote:
> http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/military-robots/boston-dynamics-alphadog-prototype-on-video
> "Badass. Oh, and if you were listening, you may have noticed that
> AlphaDog does not sound like a swarm of killer zombie bees. Amazing!"
> On the other hand, you might have noticed as well that it seems to be
> tethered in this video, including with two large black cables that look
> suspiciously like they might carry power.  It's possible that this
> version of the AlphaDog doesn't have it's onboard generator, and
> therefore it doesn't have the noise of that generator... with a 400
> pound capacity though there is plenty of space for that onboard
> generator, and I'm sure that's how they ultimately intend to equip it.
> Boston Dynamics actually calls this thing the LS3 - Legged Squad Support
> Systems.  Apparently they got $32M from DARPA to develop it.  That's a
> surprisingly small number, don't you think?
> Eric
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