An interesting video of HyQ, the four-legged Italian robot, has surfaced. Take a look the video below; it shows some of HyQ's moves, like trotting over obstacles even when walking up hill.
(HyQ Italian quadruped robot video)
The HyQ project started in Spring 2007 as my PhD project at the Advanced Robotics Department of the Italian Institute of Technology (under the supervision of Dr. Nikos Tsagarakis and Prof. Darwin Caldwell). The goal of this project is to develop a versatile quadruped robot that is able to perform highly dynamic motions such as running and jumping, and also precise navigation over rough terrain.
Readers are probably remarking about the similarities of HyQ to the BigDog robot, from Boston Dynamics. HyQ appears to be a separate, parallel development.
SF fans of recall that in the 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury created the mechanical hound, a robot that accompanied the firemen and helped with their work:
"The mechanical Hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly illuminated kennel back in a dark corner of the fire house." [more]
Check out this early refernce from the 1951 short story The Quest for Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, who writes about an autonomous robot with articulated legs:
He... took his first opportunity to inspect the robass in full light. He admired the fast-plodding, articulated legs, so necessary since roads had degenerated...
(Read more about the robass)