willatnewscientist writes: "The company that that brought us BigDog has a new robotic pooch. LittleDog is a smaller, more nimble version of the larger robot and was developed for DARPA to test competing adaptive approaches to crossing a highly irregular piece of terrain. Six different research groups — MIT, CMU, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, USC and IHMC — have each been given one LittleDog and are developing their own walking algorithms. Once a month, DARPA tests these algorithms on its own LittleDog to see which shows the most promise. Ultimately, the program could help robots like BigDog cross rocky ground without breaking a robot leg."