Watch: Updated Boston Dynamics bot, Atlas, is the future we dreamed of

24 Feb 2016

Another year, another impressive-yet-terrifying robot produced by Google-owned Boston Dynamics called Atlas that offers the first real glimpse of a true workplace robot.

If a Boston Dynamics robot called Atlas sounds familiar, it’s because the collection of servo motors and advanced AI has been in development for some time, and its development into a wonder robot has been charted by for the last two years.

However, this recent showcasing of Atlas’ skills is arguably the first time it has shown itself to be a true robot, in the sense that this will be the one to make some factory workers and manual labourers rather nervous about their career futures.

For one, the exterior of a multitude of wires, piping and motors has been covered by a futuristic-looking white and blue casing to give it the image of a true future commercial robot.

Some major structural changes have also been carried out on Atlas, most notably the significant weight reduction from just under 150kg as per the last build, to around 82kg in the new build.

This is also the first time that Atlas has been taken to the great outdoors, where it is shown navigating the snowy terrain outside of the company’s research lab and, while looking like someone who has had a few too many drinks, still has an incredible level of balance.

This is all thanks to the array of sensors located through Atlas, as well as LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles.

While fear-mongering still remains ever-present in terms of robotics and AI, you do have to feel a sense of mild fear when seeing the Boston Dynamics team effectively abuse a robot by knocking boxes out of its hand and pushing it over constantly.

If this robot is as good as it looks, you certainly wouldn’t want it coming after you…

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic