Last time we saw Boston Dynamics' ATLAS robot he was tromping down a forest jogging path in summer with his handler following behind with a power tether. Now the Google-owned robotics lab in Waltham, Mass., fortified with ample military funding from DARPA, has released a new video of its latest prize humanoid machine lifting boxes and maintaining his balance after getting poked with a hockey stick (maybe it's not the best idea to antagonize an agile next-generation android).
This new-and-improved wireless version of ATLAS is slightly shorter and lighter than the DRC ATLAS model, standing about 5'9" and weighing in at 180 pounds. It's designed to operate outdoors in all terrain and inside buildings and is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses a network of fine sensors in its body and legs to attain an amazing level of balance, with LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain and assist with navigation.
Have a look at ATLAS stepping onto snow in the woods, then displaying his squating and hoisting talents in a warehouse and even picking himself up after being rudely knocked down from behind. It's a remarkable achievement seeing this type of technological advancement being accomplished in the field, and we can't wait to see what ATLAS can do next. As long as it doesn't involve the extermination of humans!