Boston Dynamics has been busy working on an entrant for DARPA's Virtual Robotics Challenge, a contest aimed to create robots that can help in disaster situations. Of course, they could also be used by the military...
Now, Boston Dynamics has revealed its entrant: A 6-foot-tall humanoid robot called Atlas.
Compared to the bumbling, tottering, and slow humanoid robots that have hit the media before, you may be shocked at how resilient Atlas is. The machine has sophistication that approaches the stuff of science fiction. It can cope with unexpected trip hazards, survive being knocked off balance by a 20-pound weight, and if the tricks of its developmental predecessor, Petman, are anything to go by, it can climb over obstacles and autonomously navigate to a certain degree.
Give it a few years and a robot like Atlas may be pulling survivors from tumbled buildings in post-earthquake scenarios. And possibly terrifying the crap out of enemy soldiers on the battlefield.