It's been a while since I've written in this journal, but I think I've found a topic that should appeal to fans of FMA's automail, Leviathan's dieselpunk, and the Last Airbender series' upcoming steampunk influences (aka, most of my watchers):
Not hypothetical, future-tense robotics, but actual creations being cooked up by an actual robotics firm, as we speak. Specifically, Boston Dynamics, an offshoot of MIT, which has been developing walking robots for years now. I first heard about BD when they released videos of their BigDog four-legged prototype walker, and I was pretty excited when they came out with some footage of a two-legged walker, PETMAN, as well.
PETMAN Prototype: HERE
The BigDog especially amazed me with the way it stays upright on rough terrain. Look at the way it staggers and flounders on its knees on that ice, then gets up again - for all the world like a living thing. The PETMAN was pretty impressive, too...but, let's face it, it still looked like a minifridge on chicken legs, and even the BigDog made me wonder what would happen if it actually did fall over. How would you get something that large and heavy upright again?
Well, in the last month, BD has come out with an updated version of each of these robots. The newest PETMAN jogs, kneels, twists, and does pushups...and the AlphaDog demonstrates exactly what would happen if it actually fell over. (It's a little eerie. Still, personally, I can't wait until they fit it out with two passenger seats/harnesses, a steering apparatus, and a rollcage. I want one!)
PETMAN Newest Version: HERE
So, all you fans of robotics in fiction, what do you think of these real-life machines? Do you feel excited, now that machines on legs could be wandering around your neighborhoods in the next ten years? Worried? Happy? Scared? Let me know in the comments!