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While ZDNet UK openly embraces the advancing march of technology, we sometimes come across things that make our jaw drop. Here are just a few of them — 10 terrifying technology developments to celebrate Halloween.
Here's an old, spooky favourite. The BigDog robot, which lopes along at around 4mph, moves unnervingly like a real canine when pushed off balance. It can maintain a solid pace across snow and ice with little trouble, thanks to its multitude of sensors and balancing algorithms. This video from its maker, Boston Dynamics, shows the robot righting itself on ice.
It's powered by a 15HP go-kart engine driving a hydraulic pump connected to 16 leg actuators. Movement, navigation and balance are all co-ordinated using the onboard computer — a ruggedized PC/104 board stack with a Pentium 4 running QNX — and feedback from various on-board sensors for joint position, joint force, ground contact and ground load, plus a gyroscope and a stereo vision system.
Funded by the US Army's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), BigDog was created in 2005 by Boston Dynamics and is 3-feet long, standing 2.5-feet tall. It is capable of climbing a 35-degree incline carrying up to 150kg.
Photo credit: Boston Dynamics
On 5 February, 1958, a B-47 bomber equipped with a Mark 15 (Mk15) nuclear bomb — minus nuclear capsule — struck an F-86 fighter in a mid-air training collision. According to a report (PDF) in 2001 by the US Air Force Nuclear Weapons and Counterproliferation Agency, permission was given to jettison the Mk15 into the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia, because the bomb wasn't capable of a nuclear explosion.
Despite a nine-week effort to locate the bomb, it was not found. It still remains missing.
In 2000, Georgia congressman Jack Kingston requested a reinvestigation of the accident. The investigators concluded that if the bomb is intact and left undisturbed, it poses little threat. However, an undamaged bomb would pose a serious explosion hazard, if disturbed by a recovery attempt, they decided.
Photo credit: Wikipedia