In anticipation of the (DARPA) Robotics Challenge finals to be held on June 5th and 6th in Pomona, California, those brazen we-want-to-conquer-the-world engineers over at Boston Dynamics have taken it upon themselves to give the ATLAS robot some serious, and dare we say, frighteningly advanced updates.
When we last reported on the ATLAS robot, we praised the robot’s ability to walk over moving, unpredictable terrain while still maintaining its balance. Although excruciatingly slow and heavily encumbered by cables for power, the ALTAS robot demonstrated remarkable agility and balance.
Since then, the ATLAS robot, which has recently been renamed ATLAS Unplugged as a nod to controversial philosopher and writer Ayn Rand, now sports a battery-pack, a fully redesigned body that is 75 percent different than the last ATLAS version, with only “the original lower legs and feet still in use” and a host of other features that make ATLAS Unplugged stronger, faster and closer to being able to mimic human movement than ever before.
But perhaps the most stunning improvement is the robot’s battery-filled backpack, which enables the ATLAS robot to roam tether-free and walk right into your home to share a fresh cup of Joe.
When compared to its previous iteration, the newer ATLAS Unplugged robot (okay, this is beginning to sound like some hippy-dippy MTV acoustic concert) is significantly sleeker and thinner. Part of the redesign was motivated to allow ATLAS to maneuver among and in between spaces that humans might frequent. This is important because the ATLAS robot’s ultimate goal is to
subjugate replace humans tasked to handle extremely dangerous situations and environments.