Boston Dynamics – an engineering firm focused on robotics and frontrunner for Skynet – just released a new video showing off their Atlas robot. It’s not just impressive, it’s eerily close to mimicking human movement.

Without further preamble, here’s the short video:

After you’ve given the machine a glance, let’s talk about what we just saw. We’ve been watching Boston Dynamics and the progress of such robots in general for years now, and we’re certain this is the most impressive we’ve ever seen.

If you told someone that this is actually an actor in a suit, they’d probably believe you. Sure, it’s a bit dumpy and wobbly, but throw a heavy load onto a short person and they would look like the Atlas.

As is tradtition with these videos, the robots were harmed in the making. While it may look like senseless abuse, it’s an important part of developing a system’s ability to overcome obstacles in the real world. Not everything is done in a pristine lab, after all. Of particular mention (and great for a few laughs) was one developer using a hockey stick to play keep away with the robot. We feel your frustration, Atlas, we really do.

One feature to bear in mind is that this version of Atlas isn’t tethered (I.E. it’s running on battery, unlike the last version we covered).

While we don’t know the range of the battery here (it may well be a few short minutes), it is impressive that the powerful servos and processes here could be done on it. The spinning head is home to the sensors that enable the semi-autonomous nature of the robot. You may notice the symbols which look like QR codes on the boxes and walls of the test facility. These give Atlas markers and let it “see” its environment without mapping out the whole space or controlling it directly.

So, Boston Dynamics, how close are you to creating Terminators?

[Source – Boston Dynamics on YouTube]