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Thundercats, Hooo!
March 5, 2012 3:18 PM   Subscribe

From the creators of Petman and BigDog, a Cheetah is born! (SLYT)
posted by lemuring (55 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The perfect protection for any Burbclave!
posted by The Whelk at 3:23 PM on March 5, 2012 [19 favorites]


Cons: Runs in a creepy way at 18 mph.
Pros: Fortunately due to the mass of cables, it will only be able to run in a 20-foot radius circle.
posted by memebake at 3:24 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


WHEREISYOURGODNO-*slices head clean off and keeps running*W
posted by naju at 3:35 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Good batteries are the main thing keeping awesome mobile robots in the lab. One day a nice portable power source is going to come along and all of a sudden, robots will be everywhere.
posted by hellphish at 3:39 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nice Portable
Power Source
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:50 PM on March 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


If anyone needs me, I'll be in the corner... rocking back and forth... sobbing... curled up in the fetal position...
posted by LordSludge at 3:54 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, wtf batteries? How is that shit not awesome by now?
posted by lazaruslong at 3:55 PM on March 5, 2012


Eh, google tells me I'm not the only one wondering about the comparatively glacial progress in battery technology.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:56 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


No.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 3:57 PM on March 5, 2012


These things can carry gasoline engines/generators so batteries really need not be included.
posted by zeoslap at 3:59 PM on March 5, 2012


Are they aware it's running backwards?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:04 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


And the end will come, not in fire, and not in ice, but in " hey I wonder if we could build a cheeta robot?"
posted by The Whelk at 4:05 PM on March 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hell, Heinlein was complaining bitterly about batteries in the 1950s. They've gotten better since, but nothing like his imaginary solution, Shipstones.

As he observed, so long ago, there isn't much that would have as big an impact on humanity as being able to store a lot of controllable energy in a small space.
posted by Malor at 4:05 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I knew I read Heinlein complaining about batteries somewhere. As frequently embarrassed of my username as I may be, I suppose I should still be able to cite him as a reference to relevant subjects on demand. Yet I'm drawing a blank on the Shipstones story....
posted by lazaruslong at 4:08 PM on March 5, 2012


Absolutely amazing, but kinda nightmare inducing.

One question: It's not supporting it's own weight here, is it? Something tells me it's not so awesome off the treadmill, on solid ground.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:08 PM on March 5, 2012


That reminds me, I should really look into buying a shotgun.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:13 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pulse grenades.
posted by The Whelk at 4:16 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


One question: It's not supporting it's own weight here, is it? Something tells me it's not so awesome off the treadmill, on solid ground.

I take that back. It does appear to be supporting itself. Wow.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:25 PM on March 5, 2012


KILL IT! KILL IT! KILL IT!

/searches frantically for explosive weapons to deal with likely high-damage scuttling bastard.
posted by Artw at 4:29 PM on March 5, 2012


Well, if I can't outrun the killer robot I just hope I'm with some other people so I can outrun them instead.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:37 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Its legs remind me more of a scuttling spider's than a cheetah's. I await the day that MIT trots out its giant spiderbot, of course with the battery pack that BigDog carries which goes oooooOOOOOoooooo. Dang it, techno-dystopia, I was hoping we could at least get some swankier outfits up in here by now.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:37 PM on March 5, 2012


WHATYA MEAN WHAT DOES IT DO IT'S A WALKING EYE!
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM on March 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd be curious to see how it overcomes an obstacle.
posted by codacorolla at 4:46 PM on March 5, 2012


/frantically constructing obstacles, stockpiling grenades.
posted by Artw at 4:51 PM on March 5, 2012


Fan of Boston Dynamics. Not a fan of this creation being called a cheetah. Cheetahs are notable not only for their speed, agility and grace, but for being one of very few mammals to have a double-suspension gallop.

My inner 14-year old geek self is not satisfied.
posted by vers at 5:03 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just to be clear, it kills by evisceration -- correct?
posted by LordSludge at 5:13 PM on March 5, 2012


No, it kills by a strangling bite to the neck. Does this change your plans?
posted by vers at 5:17 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


lazaruslong: Yet I'm drawing a blank on the Shipstones story....

Looks like it was more recent than I realized -- from what I can tell, doing a quick Google search, Shipstones only showed up in 1982's Friday, and were apparently mentioned in To Sail Beyond The Sunset.

Dunno why I thought the idea was so much older. Maybe he groused about batteries earlier, and then came up with Shipstones later? I dunno, it's been way too many years for this old brain to conjure the details.

Basically, they were just a magic handwave, a lot of energy in a small package.
posted by Malor at 5:23 PM on March 5, 2012


Lets make something that can run fast -- on four blades! Nice work, Boston Dynamics.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:30 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are they aware it's running backwards?

No, it's the cheetahs that have been doing it wrong for millions of years.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:38 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obligatory AMEE video.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:40 PM on March 5, 2012


At least the legs are pointing in the same direction on this one. With their Big Dog it looks like the front legs are pointing backwards. It's probably more efficient. Also, I wonder why they stuck with having only two segments on the legs. Presumably, you could put as many segments on as you like, and it seems unlikely that two is really optimal for all applications. The basic 'vertebrate' layout hasn't changed all that much over billions of years (only going from arms to wings in birds and bats). A robot with a three segment leg would have way more extension.

That reminds me, I should really look into buying a shotgun.

Sorry, the robots are way ahead of you (I love how that first robot looks completely flimsy and ridiculous, yet it would obviously kill the shit out of you) Also, it's impossible to find real videos of this now, since they put one into Modern Warfare. I had seen a video before of a real computer controlled mini-copter firing an AA12. The software was able to get the the device level and steady in like half a second after firing the gun.
Fan of Boston Dynamics. Not a fan of this creation being called a cheetah. Cheetahs are notable not only for their speed, agility and grace, but for being one of very few mammals to have a double-suspension gallop.
A real Cheetah is like 5 times faster as well. I'm sure they're working on it, though.
Just to be clear, it kills by evisceration -- correct?
It could probably kill you, or at least seriously injure you, just by running into you. It doesn't have to worry about a concussion or broken bones, so a jump and headbutt would take you down.

But most likely it will just shoot you.
posted by delmoi at 5:55 PM on March 5, 2012


Unless it runs out of bullets. In which case, it decapitates you via nanowire loop.
posted by delmoi at 5:56 PM on March 5, 2012


so a jump and headbutt would take you down.

Doesn't a headbutt require, you know, a head?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:05 PM on March 5, 2012


So I'm guessing there's atleast one problem: batteries don't last so long...
posted by samsara at 6:07 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Time to buy some Old Glory Robot Insurance.
posted by djb at 6:15 PM on March 5, 2012


No.. no this isn't right.. This just isn't.. No.. No way. Spare the poor thing, this just isn't.. no.. someone please put the poor thing out of its misery; this just isn't... right. No.
posted by pyrex at 6:17 PM on March 5, 2012


Sara laughs.
posted by MrGuilt at 6:20 PM on March 5, 2012


Pros: Fortunately due to the mass of cables, it will only be able to run in a 20-foot radius circle.

I'm not seeing a mass of cables... I think it's self-contained. The hook-up to the ceiling is a block and tackle, tended by the observer, to haul it quickly off the treadmill if it falls over.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 6:20 PM on March 5, 2012


I, for one, am a little worried about the 'bot. After all, Boston Dynamics has a history of weaponizing their robots very successfully.
posted by andorphin at 6:53 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I wonder why they stuck with having only two segments on the legs. Presumably, you could put as many segments on as you like, and it seems unlikely that two is really optimal for all applications.

Why'd you have to give them ideas like that? I'll probably be cursing you in some dystopian future as I empty a whole magazine into some horror with many-segmented legs that's climbing through my barricaded window.
posted by 445supermag at 7:21 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


OMG cute. I wonder if they are going to start selling that as a toy.
posted by delmoi at 8:43 PM on March 5, 2012


Pros: Fortunately due to the mass of cables, it will only be able to run in a 20-foot radius circle.

HAHAHAHA YES EVERYTHING IS OK IT IS HOOKED UP TO A BOOM AND CABLES AND IS JUST RUNNING ON A TREADMILL SO...



Testing of a free-running prototype is planned for later this year.


oh shit
posted by louche mustachio at 9:18 PM on March 5, 2012


doesn't worry me a bit, but then again i live in a tiny hut on top of an iron smelter
posted by facetious at 9:29 PM on March 5, 2012


The Big Dog robot conjures up images of an obese, passive-aggressive cyborg wearing an XXL T-shirt which reads "DO I LOOK LIKE A PEOPLE PERSON?"
posted by benzenedream at 10:57 PM on March 5, 2012


If it becomes self-aware, I'll have to start fearing it more than the cat.
posted by arcticseal at 11:01 PM on March 5, 2012


If these guys team up with the other team working on those teeny quadcopters, I predict by 2018 we'll have WARSWARM. With KNIFE FEET. And SPINNING BLADES AT HEAD HEIGHT, MAPPING YOUR FACE IN REALTIME.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:11 PM on March 5, 2012



Yeah, wtf batteries? How is that shit not awesome by now?


It's a chemistry/physics problem. There is no getting around redox potentials. You also can't get around how much matter you can pack into a small volume.

Nuclear "batteries" or ultra capacitors may be the way to go.
posted by dibblda at 11:19 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hadn't seen that BigDog one. That one is even more impressive to me. It trips like a real animal!
posted by Defenestrator at 11:36 PM on March 5, 2012


I don't have to run faster than the cheetah, I just have to run faster than you.
posted by judson at 6:50 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nuclear "batteries" or ultra capacitors may be the way to go.

Fuel cells, IMO, if durability and purity problems can be solved. It's hard to beat the energy density of hydrocarbons.
posted by bonehead at 8:06 AM on March 6, 2012


I'm surprised that people here are talking about the slow progress of battery technology. It seems insanely fast to me!

Check out the Battery Energy Density Trend chart at http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/07/was_moores_law.php (direct link to chart). As he says, battery power density has been steadily rising for decades, but not as quickly as computer speeds/# transistors.
posted by jjwiseman at 10:24 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boston Dynamics: Seriously Incapable of Building Non-Creepy Shit Since 1992
posted by Chichibio at 10:32 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


We're talking about batteries, because batteries are currently the biggest impediment to real adoption of electric robots and vehicles including Cheetah and Bigdog. This despite a lot of money and research. Batteries have 1% or 2% the energy density of hydrocarbons right now. Considering the engine too, IC is still roughly 10 times better (endurance/weight) than electric. Further, battery systems also 2 to 3 times more expensive than IC engines. At this rate, assuming we're still in the linear portion of the s-curve, we have 3 to 4 more decades before chemical batteries get as good as (as enduring and as cheap) current fossil fuels.

More likely, we'll need some sort of shift away from conventional chemical-electrical storage, like super capacitors or fuel cells, to meet the needs of autonomous robots or vehicles.
posted by bonehead at 12:38 PM on March 6, 2012


O_O AMEE, is that you?
posted by DisreputableDog at 1:26 PM on March 6, 2012


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