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Science Tuesday, September 11th 2012 at 8:10 pm

Alpha Dog Learns New Tricks, Capable of Moving Somewhat Quietly Now [Video]

Earlier this week, we shared footage of Boston Dynamics updated Cheetah prototype, but the robotics company isn’t stopping there. They’re apparently determined to dominate September’s robot news cycle with video of the latest improvements to their DARPA funded off-roading automaton LS3 model, better known as Alpha Dog. While Cheetah is built for speed, Alpha Dog is a slower, steadier mechanical marvel, meant to trundle alongside soldiers in the field, and engineered with handling difficult terrain and carrying a heavy load of gear in mind.

The latest round of tweaks to the robotic mule put a muzzle on Alpha, reducing the noise it produces to just 10% of the racket created by past models. It’s still not quiet by any means — Alpha has never been part of a plan for stealth missions, and at this rate never will — but for soldiers trying to discuss tactics or just have a chat while hiking up a mountain pass, it’s certainly better than the roaring motor of previous iterations. The robots, which are designed to work as a sort of mechanical herd, have also improved their ability to work together, following in the designated leader’s footsteps better than before.

(via IEEE)

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