Meet Atlas: DARPA Unveils Humanoid Terminator-Like Robot

Susanne Posel Occupy Corporatism The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have unveiled Atlas, a humanoid robot that sta...

Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have unveiled Atlas, a humanoid robot that stands over 6 feet tall and weighs 290 pounds, being called “one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built.”

Atlas was created by Boston Dynamics, INC, (BD) with funding from DARPA.

This robot “is a high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain. Atlas can walk bipedally leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment. In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces.”

Bult like a human, Atlas has “sensate hands will enable Atlas to use tools designed for human use. Atlas includes 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet and a torso. 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.”

BD is an offshoot of the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT) that collaborates with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). They are responsible for robots such as:

• BigDog
• SquishBot

Atlas will be allocated for civilian use in trials to prefect its software and response to human interaction.

As part of the DARPA Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC), DARPA was able to use civilian innovation with the promise of a $2 million reward for the design of robotic systems that could be used during a disaster.

The VRC endeavors to build disaster robots with 26 universities provided robotic teams that will produce technology for DARPA.

One of the teams comes from:

• NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
• Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
• University of Kansas
• Carnegie Mellon University
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• TRAC Labs
• University of Washington
• TORC Robotics
• Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Laboratories

The simulated ATLAS robot will be used by those teams of researchers to complete tasks during simulated disaster situations that would be hazardous for humans to enter to rescue victims.

To make the situational environment realistic, DARPA will limited communications and vision between the remotely controlled robot and the teams to reflect how responders would have to navigate through real disasters.

The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) provided simulator software for the teams.

Brian Gerkey, chief executive officer for OSRF said: “If you come up with a winning solution for [the simulation], then the software that you’ve written for it should, for the most part, transfer to a physical robot in a physical environment and produce qualitatively the same results.”



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