Google's Atlas humanoid robot takes a walk in the woods

Boston Dynamics is working with untethered versions of Atlas that have 3D-printed parts.

Google's towering humanoid robot Atlas has shown off its bushwhacking skills with a recent walk in the woods.

Developed by Boston Dynamics, which Google bought in late 2013, the 1.88-meter tall, 156-kilogram Atlas is an experimental bipedal rescue machine with two arms that can use tools for humans.

It was originally designed to be able to walk over rugged, uneven terrain, and after several videos showing it walking over blocks in a lab, it has moved outdoors.

Video from Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert, presented earlier this month at the Fab 11 conference at MIT, shows Atlas marching through a wooded area, going off the path and walking through the undergrowth.

While handlers are holding the robot's power tether in the video, Raibert said Boston Dynamics is working with an upgraded version of Atlas that doesn't require a tether.

"We're making pretty good progress so it has mobility that's sort of within shooting range of yours," Raibert said in the video, adding that his goal is to build robots that can match or surpass human functionality.

Boston Dynamics is experimenting with 3D-printed parts, such as valves for hydraulic fluid, as well as shell and lattice structures for robot legs to make them stronger and lighter, Raibert said.

Sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Atlas was upgraded earlier this year with lighter materials, improved actuators to help it get up after falls and repositioned arms so that it can see its hands in motion.

Meanwhile, its wrists can rotate by themselves, allowing it to turn doorknobs without having to use its whole arm. The other major improvement is a variable-pressure pump that helps with energy conservation and makes the robot quieter.

It can also operate without its power tether.

Atlas was the basis of some of the robot platforms used in this year's DARPA Robotics Challenge, inspired by the 2011 disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. The competition, designed to get a humanoid robot to complete several disaster-related scenarios, was won by a team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?