This is the new Terminator built by DARPA to destroy all of humanity. Kidding, kidding. The 6-foot-2-inch 330-pound man-shaped robot was built to rescue humans in a Fukushima-style disaster. Atlas, Extreme Tech's Sebastian Anthony explains, has "some of the most advanced robotic limbs ever conceived," with 28 hydraulic joints that allow the robot to closely mimic human motion—"or, in the case of the robot hands provided by iRobot and Sandia National Labs, surpass them."
Atlas eventually will be self-powered and able to roam freely. You could imagine him going on a peaceful stroll...
With robot's best friend BigDog on the beach:
Or you could imagine Atlas will gain access to PRISM, allowing the machines to hunt down and eliminate anyone who makes an anti-machine joke on Gchat with red laser-beam eyes. Will Atlas be the last thing you see before you die? If so, it will probably be from this angle:
Remember how Atlas can mimic almost all human motions? This one looks remarkably like a human flexing to intimidate smaller humans:
Atlas is impervious to your pathetic attacks.
Atlas was built by Boston Dynamics, and sees with a Carnegie Robotics LIDAR and stereo camera system. He has an onboard computer, but no software brain yet, Anthony explains. Possible brains will be tested in December, and whichever brain builders perform best will compete in the finals in December 2014. The team that wins that contest will get $2 million from DARPA—and probably a contract to build more Atlases.
Atlas's agility and toughness are supposed to help him rescue people that human rescuers might not be able to reach. So for now, he's the possible savior of fragile human beings trapped in impossible-to-reach places. Whether he'll exploit that fragility to become the eventual destroyer of all humanity is yet to be seen.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.