The Defense Advanced Research Project Authority (DARPA) Learning Locomotion project seeks to create algorithms that help multi-legged platforms learn to walk in varied terrain. DARPA will be handing out a series of $600,000-$800,000 research grants to teach 6.6-pound, 10-inch "Little Dogs" to walk.
During the 15-month first phase of the Learning Locomotion project, Darpa wants the pooches to be able to travel 0.6 of an inch per second, and scale obstacles about 2.5 inches tall. For Phase II, those numbers should go up to approximately 3.8 inches and 5.7 inches, respectively.
Readers interested in an sf robot dog might want to check out the slamhound from Count Zero by William Gibson:
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)