Boston Dynamics' BigDog has been outfitted with a brand new robotic arm.
Boston Dynamics' BigDog robot is a powerhouse of the robotics world, but BigDog has clearly stepped up its game in the newest video, though, because it has acquired an arm capable of lifting and tossing concrete blocks to a smashing end. The arm uses what Boston Dynamics calls "Dynamic Manipulation" - the same type of whole body movement used by humans and animals, and Boston Dynamics is developing special actuators and control schemes to achieve it. For now, given the look of the cables coming from the side, it looks like BigDog is relying an external hydraulic rig to power that arm. Boston Dynamics is developing its robots in concert with DARPA and the US Army Research Laboratory.
BigDog is about 3 feet long, 2.5 feet tall, and weighs about 240 lbs. Those concrete blocks are probably between 40 and 50 lbs - so that robot is throwing a pretty good proportion of its weight around. According to Boston Dynamics, BigDog "runs at 4mph, 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 is also a world record holder for legged vehicles, having traveled 12.8 miles without stopping or refueling.
Source: Boston Dynamics