DARPA’s Atlas Robot: The Lovechild of Johnny Five and a Flayed T-800

Thank goodness these things still need extension cords. That way you can pull the plug when they go all blue screen on you. Cool stuff though.


Don’t be afraid, because while DARPA’s towering 330-pound, six-foot two-inch tall Atlas robot may look like a snaking cable and machined metal metropolis — the lovechild of Johnny Five and a flayed T-800 — the only reason it exists is to protect and serve flimsy organic lifeforms like you and me.

Welcome to the end of the prelude to the beginning: the official unveiling of a sophisticated human-sized bipedal rescue robot rigged by the wizards at Boston Dynamics for the DARPA Robotics Challenge. DARPA took the wraps off Atlas at Boston Dynamics HQ yesterday, putting the robot through its paces and demonstrating its human-like arms, legs, torso, head (with laser rangefinder and stereo sensors) and hands (two swappable sets) in action — all linked by 28 hydraulically actuated joints.

Atlas includes an onboard computer, hydraulic pump and the ability to manage its temperature, plus a tether (like a tail) that…

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