Atlas is back. While the robot itself may be from Google-owned Boston Dynamics, the balance algorithm is from IHMC (Institute for Human and Machine Cognition) who’s worked with the robotics company to get the six foot two biped walking better. IHMC has a strong track record in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge, coming first in computer simulations and second in real-life field trials. The next challenge comes in 2015, with more advanced trials in the summer. Turn down your speakers, then jump after the break to se a pile of motors and metal balance atop a few cinder blocks and flap its arms. There may be a beauty to its motions, but it certainly ain’t a quiet beauty. Again: mute the sound.
The ATLAS humanoid robot, which looks vaguely like something from the “Terminator” movies, was created by Boston Dynamics for DARPA, a research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. It will compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), a competition that invites engineers to create a remotely controlled robot that can respond to natural or man-made disasters.
Atlas is a high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain. Atlas can walk bipedally leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment. In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces. Learn more about Atlas.
Google’s recent acquisition of Boston Dynamics marks its eighth robotics purchase in the past six months, showing Google’s “moonshot” robotics vision is more than just a pet project.
Boston Dynamics is the most high-profile acquisition, however, instantly adding world-leading robotics capability, including robots that can walk all on their own, to Google’s arsenal – as well as significant links to the US military – conjuring images of Skynet and the artificial intelligence-led robot uprising straight out of the 1984 film The Terminator.