Boston Dynamics has specifically designed the LittleDog robot for doing research on locomotion. Scientists at major institutions use this quadruped robot for researching the basic relationships among dynamic control, motor learning, environmental perception and rough-terrain locomotion. Funded by DARPA, LittleDog is part of an advanced robotics program. It is used at Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, University of Pennsylvania, USC as well as IHMC.
Known for their huge range of motion, the robot’s four legs are powered by three electric motors. LittleDog has powerful climbing capabilities as well as dynamic locomotion gaits. It uses the onboard computer for actuator control as well as communication. The sensors are responsible for measuring joint angles, body orientation, motor currents as well as ground contact.
Control programs access LittleDog via the company’s Robot API. Equipped with lithium polymer batteries, LittleDog can continuously operate for about half-an-hour without recharging. Data logging and wireless communications support remote operations along with data analysis.