If we weren’t happily typing away at our desks for this site, our dream jobs would probably be situated at Boston Dynamics.
The company (which is actually based in Waltham, Massachusetts), is a subsidiary of Google (or should we say, Alphabet) and is regularly in the spotlight for the various robots it creates. Their most popular being the Cheetah, “fastest legged robot in the World” and the Atlas, a humanoid robot that wants to do everything a human can, only better.
Boston Dynamics’ Youtube channel is filled with videos of their creations doing impressive things, but today’s video comes from a video shown during a talk with the company’s founder, and shows off their Atlas in one of its first tests outdoors:
The founder, Marc Raibert, also shows a dinosaur hand-bot that is as nightmarish as it is cool: a quadruped that has a “manipulator” for a head that can be used to open doors. If you want to be creeped out, keep an eye out for it as it pops up right at the beginning of the video.
But onto the Atlas: Raibert talks about getting the robot out of the lab and into the real world. Although still in testing stages, and being supplied with power by a tether, he is adamant that they’ll eventually “get there” with a version that’s as mobile as you are.
The video is only a minute long and is a snippet of an hour-long presentation called “Making Robots” that we highly recommend watching if robots are your thing.
If seeing a robot walking a bit too much like a human freaks you out even more than the dinosaur-hand-bot did, then we think you should read this post by xkcd creator Randall Munroe, especially this part:
What people don’t appreciate, when they picture Terminator-style automatons striding triumphantly across a mountain of human skulls, is how hard it is to keep your footing on something as unstable as a mountain of human skulls. Most humans probably couldn’t manage it, and they’ve had a lifetime of practice at walking without falling over.
So hooray for the bumps still in the road between us and fully-autonomous humanoid robots who can’t keep their footing on a mountain of skulls, but at the current rate of development that’s probably going to be overcome at some stage. At which point it may well be time to panic.
Until then, though, rest easy.
[Source – YouTube]