BigDog is a dynamic quadruped robot that walks, runs, and carries heavy loads. It works as a pack mule to assist soldiers in carrying gear. You can even kick it, and this robotic beast won't notice.
Did you know?
The engine that powers BigDog was taken from a go-kart.
Marc Raibert, founder and CEO of Boston Dynamics, explains the origins of the BigDog project and reveals where the name BigDog came from.Photo: Jodi Hilton/The New York Times/Redux
Marc Raibert discusses BigDog's transformation into a YouTube sensation.Image: Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics, led by Marc Raibert, started developing BigDog in 1995 with funding from DARPA. The robot used many ideas conceived by Raibert at the Leg Laboratory, which originated in 1980 at Carnegie Mellon and moved to MIT in 1986. Researchers from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Harvard University collaborated on the BigDog project. The goal was to build an unmanned, legged vehicle with rough terrain mobility superior to that of existing wheeled and tracked vehicles. The ideal system would travel anywhere a person or animal could go using their legs, run for many hours at a time, and carry its own fuel and payload. Boston Dynamics built and tested several versions of BigDog, which demonstrated impressive feats of balance and agility. In 2011, the company announced that it was developing a bigger, stronger quadruped, called AlphaDog.