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Saturday, July 13, 2013

DARPA presented the humanoid robot Atlas

It is quite not like the "Terminator", but it seems that it might become soon. It is Atlas - the new 2 meter humanoid robot, developed for use by teams in the  DARPA Robotics Challenges. Software-focused teams from Tracks B and C of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (the competition started in October last year) will get to use the physical robot to compete in the first physical competition of the Challenge in December 2013 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This 130 kg machine is considered as "one of the best improved humanoid robots these days". It includes 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet and a torso.
The robot is developed by the Boston Dynamics company, which created the anthropomorphic Petman and AlphaDog robot dog. The previous models were designed primarily for military purposes, but the new Atlas will be given to the "civilian" experts for programming and testing.
ATLAS is a high mobility robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain. The robot 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 feet and hands, to pick its way through congested spaces. Sensing hands will enable Atlas to use tools designed for human use. An articulated sensor head includes stereo cameras and a laser range finder.


This version of ATLAS is powered from an off-board, electric power supply via a flexible tether, which will be allowed for in the competition, but will eventually need to be dealt with for the robot to operate independently in actual emergency situations. The ultimate goal is to create a humanoid robot that operates under severe accidents, such as the accident at the nuclear plant in Fukushima. Part of this contest is to write software for humanoid Atlas.
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