BigDog In The Uncanny Valley

Thursday, March 27, 2008 0:48 | Filed in Oddities, Technology

Came across a weird but rather interesting diagram on Phil Teare’s site the other day describing the Uncanny Valley. Phil is quite into robotics and stuff, so it was no surprise to discover that the Uncanny Valley:

…is a hypothesis that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost, but not entirely, like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The “valley” in question is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reaction as a function of a robot’s lifelikeness.Wikipedia entry ‘Uncanny Valley’

And Phil has found a YouTube video of BigDog to illustrate the uncanny valley perfectly. To those of you not genned up on robotics and the like, BigDog…

…is a dynamically stable quadruped robot created in 2005 by Boston Dynamics with Foster-Miller, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station.

BigDog is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the hopes that it will be able to serve as a robotic pack mule to accompany soldiers in terrain too rough for conventional vehicles

Wikipedia entry ‘BigDog’

Of more interest is the YouTube video of BigDog itself, which leaves me thinking ‘ick’ as it appears to be some sort of robotic cross between a bluebottle and the ‘BigDog’ in question. As robothingummies go however, it’s pretty impressive: would give R2D2 a run for it’s money, even if it’s not quite up to the C3P0 standard yet…

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7 Comments to BigDog In The Uncanny Valley

  1. Phil says:

    March 27th, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I should have given credit where it was due for the graph. Check the Wikipedia entry for the Uncanny Valley (as its origin).

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