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Atlas The Robot Flexes His Muscles

posted 12 Jul 2013, 07:03 by Mpelembe   [ updated 12 Jul 2013, 07:04 ]

US robotics company Boston Dynamics and its client, the US Defense Department, have unveiled their latest humanoid robot, Atlas, which will compete in the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). DARPA is the Defense Department's research and development arm, and the robotics challenge is designed to encourage the development of robots that can perform complex tasks - robots like Atlas.

WALTHAMMASSACHUSETTSUNITED STATES (BOSTON DYNAMICS) - WalthamMassachusetts-based Boston Dynamics describes its latest creation as a " high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain."

Indoor tests shown in a video released by the company on Thursday (July11) show just how close the company has come to realising its goal.

A modified version of its other humanoid robot, PETMAN - designed to test chemical protection clothes - Atlas stands 6' 2" (1.88 metres) tall and weighs 330 lbs (150 kg). He is equipped with articulated, sensate hands which will enable him to use tools designed for humans.

An articulated sensor head includes stereo cameras and a laser range finder. Atlas is powered from an off-board, electric power supply via a flexible tether. He can walk and climb stairs with both his hands and feet. He can lift and carry heavy oibjects and has the ability to retain his balance even when hit from the side with a 20 lb weight.

With six months before DARPA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) robotics challenge begins, Boston Dynamics are focusing on fine-tuning their robot.

Atlas will be one of several entries in the competition, designed by DARPA to promote new disaster assistance technologies for use in environments too dangerous for humans.