What Robots Can Do
Monday, January 25, 2021

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 DI-GUY Simulation Project: Boston Dynamics builds advanced robots with remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed. We use sensor-based controls and computation to unlock the capabilities of complex mechanisms. Our world-class development teams take projects from initial concept to proof-of-principle prototyping to build-test-build engineering, to field testing and low-rate production. Organizations worldwide, from DARPA, the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps to Sony Corporation turn to Boston Dynamics for advice and for help creating the most advanced robots on Earth.




LS3 - Legged Squad Support Systems


LS3 is a dynamic robot designed to go anywhere Soldiers and Marines go on foot. Each LS3 will carry up to 400 lbs of gear and enough fuel for missions covering 20 miles and lasting 24 hours. LS3 will not need a driver, because it will automatically follow a leader using computer vision or travel to designated locations using sensing and GPS. The development of LS3 will take 30 months, with first walk out scheduled for 2012. The development of LS3 is being funded by DARPA and the US Marine Corps.




PETMAN - BigDog gets a Big Brother


PETMAN is an anthropomorphic robot for testing chemical protection clothing. Unlike previous suit testers, which had to be supported mechanically and had a limited repertoire of motion, PETMAN will balance itself and move freely; walking, crawling and doing a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents. PETMAN will also simulate human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating when necessary, all to provide realistic test conditions.  Natural, agile movement is essential for PETMAN to simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions. The robot will have the shape and size of a standard human, making it the first anthropomorphic robot that moves dynamically like a real person.




CHEETAH- Fastest Legged Robot


The Cheetah is a four-footed robot that gallops at 28.3 mph, which is a land speed record for legged robots. The previous record (before Cheetah) was 13.1 mph, set in 1989 at MIT. Cheetah development is funded by DARPA's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program. This robot has an articulated back that flexes back and forth on each step, thereby increasing its stride and running speed, much like the animal does. The current version of the Cheetah robot runs on a high-speed treadmill in the laboratory where it is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump and uses a boom-like device to keep it running in the center of the treadmill. Later this year we plan to start testing a free-running Cheetah that will operate more naturally in the field.


BigDog - The Most Advanced Rough-Terrain Robot on Earth


BigDog is the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics robots. It is a rough-terrain robot that walks, runs, climbs and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by an engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog has four legs that are articulated like an animal's, with compliant elements to absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule; about 3 feet long, 2.5 feet tall and weighs 240 lbs. BigDog's on-board computer controls locomotion, servos the legs and handles a variety of sensors. BigDog's control system keeps it balanced, navigates, and regulates its energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a gyroscope, LIDAR and a stereo vision system. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine functions, battery charge and others. In separate tests BigDog runs at 4 mph, climbs slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, climbs a muddy hiking trail, walks in snow and water, and carries a 340 lb load. BigDog set a world's record for legged vehicles by traveling 12.8 miles without stopping or refueling.



SandFlea - Leaps Small Buildings in a Single Bound


Sand Flea is an 11 pound robot that drives like an RC car on flat terrain, but can jump 30 ft into the air to overcome obstacles. That is high enough to jump over a compound wall, onto the roof of a house, up a set of stairs or into a second story window. The robot uses gyro stabilization to stay level during flight, to provide a clear view from the onboard camera, and to ensure a smooth landing. Sand Flea can jump about 25 times on one charge. Boston Dynamics is developing Sand Flea with funding from the US Army's Rapid Equipping Force (REF).



RHex - Devours Rough Terrain


RHex is a six-legged robot with inherently high mobility. Powerful, independently controlled legs produce specialized gaits that devour rough terrain with minimal operator input. RHex climbs in rock fields, mud, sand, vegetation, railroad tracks, telephone poles and up slopes and stairways. RHex has a sealed body, making it fully operational in wet weather, muddy and swampy conditions. RHex's remarkable terrain capabilities have been validated in government-run independent testing. RHex is controlled remotely from an operator control unit at distances up to 700 meters. Visible/IR cameras and illuminators provide front and rear views from the robot.



RiSE: The Amazing Climbing Robot


RiSE is a robot that climbs vertical terrain such as walls, trees and fences. RiSE uses feet with micro-claws to climb on textured surfaces. RiSE changes posture to conform to the curvature of the climbing surface and its tail helps RiSE balance on steep ascents. RiSE is 0.25 m long, weighs 2 kg, and travels 0.3 m/s.Each of RiSE's six legs is powered by a pair of electric motors. An onboard computer controls leg motion, manages communications, and services a variety of sensors, including joint position sensors, leg strain sensors and foot contact sensors.  Boston Dynamics developed RiSE in conjunction with researchers at University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Lewis and Clark University. RiSE was funded by DARPA.



LittleDog - The Legged Locomotion Learning Robot


LittleDog is a quadruped robot designed for research on learning locomotion. Scientists at leading institutions use LittleDog to probe the fundamental relationships among motor learning, dynamic control, perception of the environment, and rough-terrain locomotion. LittleDog is used at MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, USC, Univ. Pennsylvania and IHMC as part of a DARPA-funded program on advanced robotics. LittleDog has four legs, each powered by three electric motors. The legs have a large range of motion. The robot is strong enough for climbing and dynamic locomotion gaits. The onboard PC-level computer does sensing, actuator control and communications. LittleDog's sensors measure joint angles, motor currents, body orientation and foot/ground contact. Control programs access the robot through the Boston Dynamics Robot API. Onboard lithium polymer batteries allow for 30 minutes of continuous operation without recharging. Wireless communications and data logging support remote operation and data analysis.



DI-GUY Human Simulation Project


DI-Guy is software and content for adding lifelike human characters to real-time visual simulations. DI-Guy characters look realistic, respond to simple high-level commands, and travel about the environment as directed. DI-Guy characters make seamless transitions from one activity to the next, moving naturally like real people. DI-Guy is available as an integrated suite of COTS software products:


  • DI-Guy SDK is a software library that lets you quickly integrate humans into your real-time visual application.
  • DI-Guy Scenario is an interactive 3D visual application for authoring human performances.
  • DI-Guy AI adds artificial intelligence to the characters, enabling them to autonomously navigate and react to their changing environment.
  • DI-Guy Roleplayer and Lifeform Server stations are authorable human-centric training solutions designed for both single player use and distributed simulation populations.
  • DI-Guy has always been designed to work in distributed simulations. Our DIS and HLA solutions let you network your human entities with unparalleled fidelity and precision.



Hear from the Boston Dynamics leadership team as they reflect on the year since Spot’s launch, share how our visionary customers are helping to unlock game-changing automation across a number of industries, and reveal exciting new developments from the Spot team.​