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Is This The Humanoid We've Been Waiting For?

The latest in robotics

Nicole Billitz
Is This The Humanoid We've Been Waiting For?© 2017 DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) unveiled its latest project on Tuesday. ATLAS Unplugged is the upgraded, 2.0 version of their original ATLAS robot, a robot gaining recognition for its humanoid-like appearance.

The latest robot has a new look and improved functions, and is a fully functional humanoid robot. ATLAS Unplugged is a 75% upgrade in overall parts from it’s predecessor. Now 6 feet and 2 inches tall, the robot weighs a startling 345 pounds and resembles an NFL linebacker. It runs on a much more powerful battery, a 3.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion, that gives the bot a full hour of power. It also has gotten rid of its old safety tether and now offers improved wireless communications for the user.

The redesign comes from Boston Dynamics, an engineering and robotics design company, which was bought by Google in 2013. Wherever the design came from, either Google or BD, its brand new look seems to be preparing for working alongside humans one day. The old exposed wires of past ATLAS are gone, and have been exchanged in favor of a chest plate, which is white, shiny with the Boston Dynamics logo, as well as white plastic encased where human thighs would be, giving it a human appearance. The newest robot is allegedly quieter and stronger than it used to be, and it can even lift itself up easily when it falls.

DARPA presented the new ATLAS as part of the annual Robotics Challenge, which has groups of roboticists compete against each other for a specific cause. This year, the competition will take place between June 5 to 6, with the theme of human-supervised robot technology for disaster response. The grand prize will be $2 million.

 

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