Marines training with Boston Dynamics robots

Joe Pappalardo reports on the day the marines met their robotic mule. Much is left unrevealed by the amazing and unsettling videos.

Pfc. Marcus Beedle looks over his shoulder at the robot following him. The machine's four legs are eagerly stamping the grass, its sensor-laden head held high. "LS3, follow tight," Beedle says to the robot, and the Legged Squad Support System—which stands taller than a dog but smaller than a mule—follows in the exact footsteps of its Marine Corps handler. ... The LS3 is made for war zones, but it is not viewed as a weapon. It's a mule—though some Marines would like to see a little more. "We'd love a machine gun on it," says 1st Lt. Alex Hurran.

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  1. Oorah men! Today we pacify and hold the uncanny valley and every last one of its eerily demi-human residents!

    Assisting you on this mission will be the unnervingly sophisticated LS3 tactical support system. In light of the unusual requirements of this combat environment, you have each been issued a 'very, very digital' pattern camo uniform and 250 5.56x45 CGI-piercing rounds. Should you encounter fortified resistance, Michael Bay will be providing heavy fire support.

  2. I'd be curious to know if (once they manage a few cost reductions, most likely) construction/demolition and disaster response would be interested. Moves across loose rubble markedly more easily than all but the heaviest tracked vehicles(which are both very expensive, very hard on paved roads, and present a serious squish risk in the case of buried survivors); but probably better than a human at carrying jackhammers/cutting torches/thermal cameras/exploratory 'snake' cameras, that sort of thing.

  3. "We'd love a machine gun on it," says 1st Lt. Alex Hurran."

    Why not a frikken' laser beam?

  4. Those are only for sharks. Duh.

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