Robo-puppy

Darpa is really living up to its reputation as the Pentagon's "mad science" division on this one — they're building autonomous mechanical pooches that can teach themselves how to walk or, more accurately, shelling out a chunk of dough to contractors who will achieve that feat. They've finally realized that handcrafting all of the control parameters for locomoting a priori is not likely to be effective in any reasonable amount of time, due to the minutiae of the millions of tiny calculations required to achieve some of the things we humans tend to do so effortlessly (after a few years of practice), such as keeping balance and avoiding obstacles. So, the 6.6 pound 10.6-inch long "Little Dogs" are going to school themselves in the fine art of locomotion, and we can all sleep a little bit sounder knowing the Defense Department's ranks will soon be swelled with a pack of doggie drones.

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