We’ve been following MIT’s ATLAS, the bipedal robot, for a while now. We’ve seen the cute little guy walk, toddle, and climb over obstacles but now he can reach down, grab a heavy metal girder, and drag it around like a beast. Our little robo-monster is growing up!
The demo, which was presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Hong Kong, shows ATLAS “trucking with a truss,” namely dragging a huge piece of metal around an open space. The project is part of MIT’s DARPA Robotics Challenge work and was produced by Scott Kuindersma, Frank Permenter, and Russ Tedrake.
Why is this important? Because ATLAS can now walk while off-balance (albeit not very quickly.) This means the robot could carry differently weighted objects in each arm (a gun and a battle-ax or a baby and an adult) and can also assist in warehouses and deep inside an underground lair. It is, in short, now a humanoid robot that can do useful work.
Keep an eye on ATLAS because some day you’ll be cowering in a corner while a dozen of them search your house. Excelsior!