Big Dog is fantastic looking machine being created by Boston Dynamics. DARPA is funding development of Big Dog, they have also funded development of the Tree Climbing Robot.
“BigDog has an on-board computer that controls locomotion, servos the legs and handles a wide variety of sensors. BigDog’s control system manages the dynamics of its behavior to keep it balanced, steer, navigate, and regulate energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a laser gyroscope, and a stereo vision system. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, battery charge and others.
So far, BigDog has trotted at 3.3 mph, climbed a 35 degree slope and carried a 120 lb load.
BigDog is being developed by Boston Dynamics with help from Foster Miller, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station. Development is funded by the DARPA Defense Sciences Office.”