DARPA’s robotics program has produced some amazing machines and MyGaming readers seem to love these creations that more and more enter the realm of science fiction in terms of what they can do.
In our last article on DARPA’s creations many were taken to the Big Dog, a robot pack mule designed to carry loads too heavy for infantry. Now DARPA and Boston Dynamics have created a new machine to aid in the robot uprising, and its called ATLAS.
ATLAS is a bipedal robot that has human-like qualities. It’s one of the few bipedal robots that can balance on its own and it has a similar structure to the human body – ball socket joints, a pelvis, a ribcage – and twenty-eight hydraulic motors that operate his limbs.
ATLAS can move around obstacles, can jump from a height of almost a metre, can climb stairs on its own, understands depth and can even do a very funky robot dance. The eyes look a bit like the camera sensors on the fictional WALL-E. In fact, it looks a lot like ATOM, the robot boxer from the movie Real Steel.
ATLAS isn’t built for fun, though. Its competing in a international competition for funding from DARPA along with six other robots in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. Winning the challenge nets the team funding for completing their creation as well as a contract with DARPA to continue refining it.
Presumably this also comes with a clause that your team’s machine may be used by DARPA to staff their robot army and prepare for Judgement day. The robots all perform different tasks and I’m most interested in RoboSimian (1:08) which looks a lot like an orang-utan and is designed for climbing and, according to the concept art, working on other planets.
The six robot teams must guide their creations through an obstacle course and are required to use both hardware and software to overcome obstacles their creations may face.