Boston Dynamics, the engineering and robotics design company owned by Google, has just unveiled its latest mind-blowing creation: Atlas, a two-legged robot that can walk, pick things up, and open doors just like an actual human.
Standing 5-foot-9-inches tall and weighing 180 pounds, Atlas is a shrimp compared to its 330-pound predecessor, which was developed for academic teams to use in a challenge hosted by DARPA last year. And while earlier versions were tethered to a power source, Atlas runs on batteries alone. This gives it the freedom of movement to do things like frolic through a snowy forest, as we see it doing in the video below.
“[Atlas] uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, and help with navigation,” Boston Dynamics told the BBC.
But it's Atlas’ ability to withstand physical abuse that truly distinguishes the robot from its peers. In the video, a Boston Dynamics researcher can be seen picking on Atlas like some kind of schoolyard bully. At one point, the dude uses a giant pole to shove an Atlas to the ground from behind.
Atlas doesn’t retaliate.
Atlas’ pacific demeanor can be explained by the fact that it wasn’t designed to fight. It was designed to work — though, Boston Dynamics could begin selling these robots to the military once development is complete.
Imagine a future in which Google warehouses, or an armored division’s motor pool, are staffed not by human beings but dozens of robot slaves like sweet Atlas. If that thought tugs on your heartstrings, as it does ours, you’ll want to check this out:
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Coast Guard cutter Bertholf on a counterdrug patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean, March 11, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Trees
U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bertholf left California on January 20 for a months-long mission in the Pacific to support U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the largest of the U.S. military's geographic combatant commands.
Coast Guardsmen aboard the Bertholf left Alameda on the 30th day of what is now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. They left a few days after not getting their first paycheck since that shutdown started and without knowing when the next will come.