Friday, August 17, 2012

Boston Dynamics gets DARPA contract to build humanoid bi-pedal autonomous robot

Folks, don’t blink.

If you blink, you might just miss the rapid developments in the fields of robotics and engineering and government contracts to build robots.

Real-time events in robotics and the intended acquisition and use of robots are advancing at a rate that might surprise even the most die-hard sci-fi fan and hobbyist (such as I) and said events are far enough along now that they should be nudging into the consciousness of even the most unaware of the general public.

CH-47 Gunner's Eye View by Steven Thomas Howell
Courtesy Steven Thomas Howell WANA Commons

For some time now I have been intrigued by the development of an east coast engineering firm by the name of Boston Dynamics.

These guys and gals here at BD are on the BLEEDING EDGE of experimental robotics and have already created the freaking wildest and craziest of autonomous robots that you have ever seen.

I mean seriously, check this out:

Isn’t that incredible??!! (If you are interested, (and come on... you ARE interested, right??) then you should go to Boston Dynamic site and watch more videos)

Even if left alone with no further development that video to me shows an incredible amount of sophistication in engineering that surpasses many of my own imaginings.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Folks, did you know that just this week the esteemed scientists and engineers at Boston Dynamic were awarded with a $10.9 MILLION dollar contract from none other than DARPA to create build and deliver TWO identical robots that DARPA intends to use “ provide assistance, such as perform evacuation operations, during any potential natural or man-made disasters that would otherwise prove too dangerous for human aid.” (read more here)


But the intended use DARPA has in mind goes even further. They want each robot to “... operate with supervised autonomy, and will be able to operate intelligently by itself during situations when supervision may break down.”

These robots will be able to operate INTELLIGENTLY and BY THEMSELVES when a human supervisor is not available!!!!



Now folks, hear me out. When I watch the videos from Boston Dynamics I have two major and conflicting emotions.

First I am completely awed when I watch their creations at work. These machines are engineering miracles and are by themselves some of the greatest things that MAN has ever created.

Second, you may have guessed, my over active writer-ly mind/imagination kicks in and of course I start thinking of all the ways that robots have been used in very bad way ways in the past in stories. And I also start to imagine how I can use this new information and incorporate it into MY stories because, let’s not mince words here... this stuff is just FREAKING AWESOME!

If you’ve read my blog at all then you know how quickly I can lead these new machines into realms consisting of Overlords and maniacal geniuses wielding magical tools of transhumanism and cloud computing utilizing massive armies of centrally controlled but imminently autonomous mechanical creatures in order to rule the world. (read more here and here)

But I gotta tell ya, reality is quickly catching up with a poor ole sci-fi guy like me. Hell, if real science keeps this up pretty soon we won’t even be able to complain about how they haven’t created flying cars yet!



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