DARPA has unveiled a new 6-foot robot named Atlas. Although this robot looks as though it has just stepped off the film-set of Terminator, the 330-pound machine has been designed to help us.
Atlas is a testbed humanoid for disaster response. The Petman soldier robot showed it was possible for a humanoid to do pushups and run on a treadmill, designed to test chemical protection clothing but Atlas goes further than that.
Not only can it walk and carry things but it can also travel on rough terrain and climb using its hands and feet. Its head has stereo cameras and a laser range finder. Thankfully it is tethered to an off-board, electric power supply; no need to worry about it turning against us then!
“Articulated, sensate hands will enable Atlas to use tools designed for human use,” Boston Dynamics says. “Atlas includes 28 hydraulically actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet, and a torso.”
Seven teams are currently working as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, designed to evolve machines that can cope with disasters and hazardous environments. Each team will get their own Atlas and be able to program it until December when trials will begin at Homestead Miami Speedway, Florida.
The trials will include tasks like driving a utility vehicle, walking over uneven terrain, cleaning debris, breaking through walls, closing valves and connecting fire hoses.
So although Atlas looks rather scary, no need to have nighmares!
[Image via occupycorporatism]