Advancements in technology are almost always exciting. Progress humans are able to make through artificial intelligence is truly astounding. Yet, at what point do we stop and wonder if we are getting a little too far from comfort and too close to the story line of The Terminator. Meet the Atlas robot.
A 6 foot 9, 167 pound robot that is able to perform physical activities far better than the average human.
The designing company, Boston Dynamics, experienced public embarrassment a few months ago in the DRC robolympics due to their humanoid robot’s clumsy performance. It became so bad their bot eventually required a crane’s assistance to lift it back onto its feet. Like a villainess robot from a Terminator sequel however, Boston Dynamics created what appears to be a superior bot that won’t make the same mistakes. Using sensors in its body and legs for balance and stereo sensors in its head to perform over difficult terrain, Atlas will likely exceed expectations. Boston Dynamics was so concerned about balance that Atlas is even capable of performing back flips. In a video set to showcase Atlas’s capabilities, a Boston Dynamics employee is seen knocking the robot over. In a truly remarkable and somewhat terrifying act, Atlas gets back up on its own.
While they may remind us of something from the Terminator, the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) or robolympics, was created for a purely humanitarian purpose. The competition organizer for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Gill Pratt, citing the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan by stating, “Sometimes in a disaster, it is too dangerous for people to go in.” For that reason the DRC was designed to be especially difficult in order to better simulate a disastrous situation. Due to their disappointing DRC performance a few months ago, we can be sure of one thing; Boston Dynamics and their robot Atlas will be back for revenge.
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