This new Boston Dynamics video showcases the prowess of their latest creation: the (new and improved) Atlas.
Atlas is the Titan god of endurance and astronomy, forced to hold up the sky for eternity – or in popular lore, the Earth. Appropriate.
In the video, the 1.75m tall and 82kg heavy bipedal robot completes several tasks in a most humanmanner – from opening doors by recognizing and pushing the handle, to taking a stroll through the snow. It recovers from stumbles and lifts 10 pound boxes with ease.
It also endures all manner of cruel torment, as its human master uses a hokey stick to prod it off-balance, sweep away a box that it labors to pick up, and basically degrade its robo-rights. It rises to its feet with a sudden and unexpected burst of speed when the treacherous human pushes it to the ground.
They stumble through the snow, recovering from being pushed to the ground and reacting to the box moved annoyingly out of its reach, demonstrates more than just infinite patience and endurance though; these actions also showed just how quickly the robot was able to recalculate the best way to complete a task given a changing environment.
“It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects,” says Boston Dynamics in the video description.
At some point, programming to have it deal more aggressively with agitators could turn these bipedal robots into true tools of war.
The video cuts to the robot making a quick exit into an unwary world, free at last.
So far though, it appears to only recognize or receive instructions from what appear to be QR codes stuck onto objects and doors. So, unless you’re forced to stick one to your face you should be safe – until Atlas 3.0, at least (and if you see a humanoid robot giving away flyers, or “free” boxes, then run).