'Big Dog': A New Robotic Pack Mule

All armies need supplies. Will U.S. Special Forces of the future use "Big Dog" to carry theirs?

The creation of robotics pioneer Marc Raibert skirts obstacles it "sees," climbs rock-strewn slopes and can jump a three-foot ditch while carrying double a soldier's load—all without human aid. Big Dog is funded by DARPA, the Pentagon agency that explores "the far side" (as it puts it), bringing way-out ideas to reality. Its record includes the Internet and stealth aircraft, so when DARPA's John Main says "biodynotics"—robots inspired by nature—are "potentially revolutionary," he's worth listening to.