Boston Dynamics does indeed deserve their excellent rep. But the answers to why are more mundane: a) They had military funding way before most other robot companies, and b) they had the foresight to start working on biomimicry in robotics before anyone else. They've also been really good at operating in stealth mode under the radar.
Thanks for the video Cabe. I just spent the last 30 minutes perusing the Boston Dynamics website. Unbelieveable! It's here, now. NOW watching the movie "iRobot" doesn't seem so much like fantasy as it does a peek into the future.
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.