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Darpa_2013

So in my post The New Robotics I posted some images of robots that Boston Dynamic and DARPA are working on. I am at the same time both attracted and dismayed by the possibilities these robots purport.
Last week The New Aesthetic posted a link to a Twitter message sent out by the company that develops these robots for the US military, DARPA.
The post was that of one of their LS3 robots, meaning Legged Squad Support System; a vehicle shaped like a dog or a mule that follows troops in rugged terrain like the animal it was inspired on would, only a lot stronger and less stubborn.

Apparently these LS3’s were demonstrated to a selected public recently which DARPA photographed and shared on their own website.
It underlined my position of ambivalence toward the entire project; here are military robots (with still unknown future goals) on one hand, and on the other the images reminded me of something else; the pictures I take of my cats. The makers had formed a relation of some sorts with these LS3’s, reminiscent of a living dog with it’s owner.

This is an interesting development in the relation between people and robots.
When AIBO was released in 1999 it was clearly a toy and although it was sleeker styled it had a clumsy and slow way of moving about, the owner never really felt a connection as you would with a real pet because it was always seen in the context of your living room floor and it wouldn’t really follow you about as a pet would.
These images of the LS3’s in a park setting are very different to the earlier released ones in the lab and remote training grounds; DARPA and Boston Dynamics were still testing and tweaking and it did not seem like they had formed a bond yet, I view these recently released photo’s as the equivalent of a birth announcement.

I asked myself the question how a future with these robotic animals would look and by coincidence (I was looking to find a resemblance to photo’s of dogs) I came across a self initiated calendar with pictures of her dogs some lady made and distributed on Lulu.com.
I made the calendar she, or enthousiasts like here, would possibly make in a near future about her LS3’s. The calendar was initially for myself but I now made it public.

Enter the code; “Darpa_2013” when you purchase the calendar and get 10% off.
> Darpa calendar on Lulu for €13,50

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+ Link to New Aesthetic article
+ Link to Darpa tweet
+ This post is now featured on Wired