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The Atlas Robot from Boston Dynamics: Its balance is so well engineered you can't easily knock it over. It can effortlessly  navigate doorways, walk up and down stairs and even through snow.
The Atlas Robot from Boston Dynamics: Its balance is so well engineered you can't easily knock it over. It can
effortlessly navigate doorways, walk up and down stairs and even through snow.


By Denise Chow
Robotics company Boston Dynamics released a new video showcasing its upgraded Atlas robot, and the footage features a slew of impressive (and somewhat unsettling) new capabilities.

The humanoid Atlas robot, which has been overhauled with a sleeker design, can be seen at the beginning of the video walking around untethered before it opens the front door to Boston Dynamics' office and steps outside. The bot is then seen walking on uneven and snowy terrain, maneuvering around trees and correcting its balance several times.The new-and-improved robot is "designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings," Boston Dynamics wrote in a description of the video posted on YouTube. "It is specialized for mobile manipulation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects."



Indeed, the video goes on to show Atlas bending down to pick up 10-pound (4.5 kilograms) boxes and pivoting its torso to place each package on a shelf. In another instance, a human handler uses a hockey stick to push Atlas off balance. The robot stumbles backwards (but catches itself) before regaining its balance. Next, an employee pushes Atlas down from behind. The curled-up robot (lying flat on its robotic face) is able to push itself up -- first to its "hands" and "knees," before righting its torso and then pushing up on its feet-- all without help from a human or a tether.

Some commenters on the YouTube video expressed outrage at the guy pushing the robot with a hockey stick, with some saying they felt sad for the robot, some calling the guy a bully and even suggesting, perhaps with a grin, that he will be blamed for any robot uprisings.

"The guy who kicks the robot will be fully responsible [sic] from the forthcoming robot-human wars," wrote Alper ALT.

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