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Boston Dynamics just released a video detailing just exactly what their new Atlas humanoid robot can do, and it is a little scary. Not only can the robots walk upright, but it can pick up objects, recover from falls, and traverse highly variant terrain, all like humans can.
The new model released by the Alphabet-owned company comes in at 1.75 meters tall and just shy of 82 kg, matching the body mass and structure of average humans. The previous model showed promise but its bulky nature and clumsy motion did not leave many impressed. Check out the new model below!
Perhaps what is most striking about the predecessor to our future robot overlords is its judgment making capability. Whenever it is faced with a challenge of falling or having something taken away from it, the robot recalculates and solves the problem. There is even a point in the video where one engineer knocks the robot's box from its hands several times, and the machine continues to work to pick up the box.
The high tech robot is covered in a range of sensors, featuring LIDAR in its head for navigation and proximity and other sensors in its leg for balance. Even still, the machine can be pushed over just like any other human being.
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The difference between this robot and other advanced robotic technologies is its skills at getting back up. Being assaulted by the engineer and falling down is no trouble for the new Atlas robot, as seen in the video, it quickly jumps up and is back at it.
The video strictly demonstrates the robot's mechanical and processing capabilities; it is left up to the viewer to determine what the future may hold for this advancing robotics field.
It seems to be inferred throughout the video that the robot would be able to function as a normal humanoid worker, lifting boxes and completing manual labor. One thing the tech does lack: opposable thumbs. Mastering the dynamic ability of the hand is perhaps the next step in advancing humanoid robotics, and things might start to get a little scary.
As alluded to in the Terminator series, the age of robot domination is often unseen before it's too late. While that may just be cinematic magic, there is a real company named Cyberdyne currently manufacturing robotic exoskeletons for Japanese workers. For now, though, these advances are pretty awe-inspiring, surely human ingenuity will always win out over robotic processing capability... right?
This robot is not all the way there yet, but to see just how far the technology has come in just a short period of time is certainly astounding. Up until this point, humanoid robots have seemed clumsy and shaky, but the new Atlas puts those days into technological history. It will probably still be several years until a production model exists, but as a generation, there will surely come a time where robots are living among us.