Marc Raibert, Ph.D. never viewed robots as some foreign science fiction concept. He’s the founder, CEO, and brains behind the company Boston Dynamics. They’ve pioneered some of the world’s most forward-thinking robots. Boston Dynamic is the force behind machines like BigDog, Handle, and Atlas.
The agility they show distinguish them from other robots. Each one moves with the agility of the animals they’re modeled after. They also set themselves apart by the intelligence they exhibit.
Dr. Raibert’s early fascination with the brain led him into the world of robotics. His inspiration came from watching how the brain encouraged movement in mammals. He formulated his earliest plans for machine experimentation as a Ph.D. student at MIT.
He attained an assistant professor position at Carnegie Mellon University in 1980. There, Dr. Raibert started delving into the world of robotics. The out of the box thinking he displayed early on would define his career. He chose to forge a different path than others exploring robot movement at that point.
His first efforts resulted in a one-legged robot that hopped on one leg. Dr. Raibert studied this model for ideas on addressing common instability issues in machines with more than one leg. What he learned helped him build more complicated and dynamic robots.
He founded the Leg Lab at MIT after transitioning there in 1986. Dr. Raibert focused on creating robots with more animal-like movements. His success there encouraged him to move on from academia to form Boston Dynamics.
The company started out focusing on commercializing Dr. Raibert’s modeling methods. They focused on the physics of human and robotic movement.
That shifted after doing some work for Sony on robot developments they were pursuing in 2003. That led to their first government contract from DARPA for their BigDog prototype.
Boston Dynamics has been at the forefront of robotic development ever since. The company continued performing work for the government and civilian companies. In fact, they’ve worked to find machine solutions for both military and mainstream use.
The company found itself in the news after YouTube videos of their robot concepts went viral. Many found themselves in awe of what the company showed itself capable of. Others found themselves concerned at what the technology might mean.
Despite the mixed reactions, Dr. Raibert and Boston Dynamics appreciate the mainstream interest in their robot developments. They continue to pursue innovation in all their products. Their focus always remains on improving people’s daily lives in a meaningful way.
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