The name Boston Dynamics should paralyze you with the same terror as the name Skynet, the Hollywood-dreamed company behind the human-extinguishing Terminator robots. And that Terminator comparison is getting even more apt, because the robotics company, which works with the U.S. military and DARPA, has just shown off the Atlas, a humanoid robot that cannot be stopped.
Watch as Atlas stalks across a bed of rocks as if it were a gravel footpath. Gasp as Atlas stands firm when a weight marked ”20” is viciously thwacked into its side. And flee in terror as Atlas marches relentlessly through the forests, never slowing, never tiring, never giving up, while its (theoretical) human prey exhausts itself in the futile chase.
Atlas joins Boston Dynamics’ already impressive lineup of the hop-a-long cargo carrying Big Dog, the Cheetah, which can dash at up to 30 mph, and the all-terrain WildCat. That’s the beginnings of a Transformers-like team right there. In fact, one look at the list of robot names on Boston Dynamics’ Wikipedia page shows that the company clearly has its eyes on a Saturday morning cartoon series: BigDog, Cheetah, LittleDog, RiSE, SandFlea, PETMAN, LS3, Atlas, and RHex.
Most worrying, though, might be Boston Dynamics’ founder Marc Railbert’s claim to his human audience that the bipedal Atlas has “mobility that’s in shooting range of yours.”