The US military has been testing the use of this pack mule robot by Boston Dynamics, presumably with the hope that it would help share the load of all the heavy equipment that our armed forces carry with them in the field. Unfortunately, these robots are way too loud to use. You might recall their predecessor, which was called a “BigDog,” makes a noise like a huge swarm of angry bees. Even the smallest iteration of these, named “Spot,” makes a big whopping pile of noise once it gets going.
Kyle Olson, a Marine Corps Warfighting Lab spokesperson, put it this way: “As Marines were using it, there was the challenge of seeing the potential possibility because of the limitations of the robot itself. They took it as it was: a loud robot that’s going to give away their position.”
You won’t have to watch this robot in action for very long before you agree with Olson’s description. The thing is loud. Also, it’s quite creepy, given that it doesn’t have a head and moves in an unnatural manner — but that probably didn’t bother the military so much as the “swarm of bees” aspect. (The creepiness factor does bother other people, though, which has resulted in a bizarre series of parody videos in which people imitate the BigDog and its ilk.)
It’s too bad that this ol’ robotic dog has become a bit of a laughingstock rather than a helpful tool, but if Boston Dynamics can figure out how to make this robot as silent as the grave, it’ll be a lot more effective — and probably much creepier, too.
(via the Verge)
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