Every time we catch a glimpse of what Google owned robotics development firm Boston Dynamics is working on, it's always impressive. Whether we consider Big Dog, Little Dog or Cheetah, they're all amazing and terrifying in equal measure. The next-generation Atlas however, could be the most lifelike yet, with accurate bipedal movement and true redundancy should something go wrong.
Unlike the four-legged robots that Boston Dynamics designed with the military in mind – a contract that was ultimately cancelled due to noise issues – Atlas is designed for indoor and outdoor usage. It has always been capable of moving through various environments and manipulating tools and tasks designed for other humans, but it's recently become far more fluid in its movements.
This latest generation Atlas was shown off in a new video from Boston Dynamics picking up boxes, placing them gently on shelves, carrying various weights and moving through different indoor and outdoor spaces. However it's his correcting algorithms that are perhaps the most impressive. When pushed off balance, it corrects it and when its task is interrupted, it resets and attempts it again.[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVlhMGQgDkY']
Developers even shove the poor guy so hard it falls over at one point, but getting back to its feet isn't a problem.
Weighing in at 180lbs (82KG) and measuring 5'9″ tall, the new version of Atlas shows that robots could replace factory and warehouse workers in the future – though something tells us one of these would be rather expensive in comparison to a human worker not on a living-wage.
KitGUru Says: Perhaps the most bizarre part of this video demonstration of what Atlas can do, is that as it's being pushed around and its work disrupted, I actually felt sympathy for the robot. Something about its humanoid movements made me feel something for the autonomous object.