On July 11, DARPA revealed one of the most technologically advanced robots to date. Known as Atlas, the robot stands almost two meters (six feet) tall and weighs about 150 kilograms (330 lbs). Developed by Boston Dynamics, the robot was made to be a humanoid responder for dangerous situations like nuclear meltdowns. It’s set to participate in DARPA’s robot challenge in December as Boston Dynamics continues to make improvements to the software.
While Atlas already looks like something straight out of Terminator, things get even creepier when you realize what it’s capable of doing. With its 28 hydraulic joints, arms, legs, head, torso, sensors, and on-board real-time computer, Atlas can not only sense its environment, but can react to it with a dexterity not yet seen in an android robot. It can perform basic functions like walking, grabbing, turning, and giving visual feedback, but it’s also capable of doing things like climbing a ladder, starting and driving a car, and connecting a fire hose to a valve. The robot’s real-time computers and lasers allow for its environment to be sensed and mapped even at long ranges. DARPA uses the robotic challenge to encourage advancements in robotics like Atlas, and they’re confident that it will not only do well in the challenge, but extend its abilities to real-world uses as well.