Published July 12, 2013
He’s six-two, weighs 330 pounds, and has arms that stretch wider than a car -- but the NFL doesn’t want this guy in its lineup.
Defense contractors on Thursday unveiled one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built as part of the DARPA Virtual Robotics Challenge in Waltham, Mass. Called ATLAS, the giant is controlled by a human operator, who guides the sensors, hydraulics, and limbs through a range of natural motions, the military said.
He can walk up stairs, stay upright after getting hit with heavy weights, and climb over or around obstacles in his path -- and may ultimately boost the ability of first responders in a disaster scenario.
“We have dramatically raised the expectations for robotic capabilities with this Challenge, and brought together a diverse group of teams to compete,” said Gill Pratt, program manager for the DARPA Robotics Challenge.
And ATLAS is just one of the robots in the military’s latest robobuilding contest.
“The Virtual Robotics Challenge was a proving ground for teams’ ability to create software to control a robot in a hypothetical scenario. The DRC Simulator tasks were fairly accurate representations of real world causes and effects, but the experience wasn’t quite the same as handling an actual, physical robot,” Pratt said.
“Now these seven teams will see if their simulation-honed algorithms can run a real machine in real environments. And we expect all teams will be further refining their algorithms, using both simulation and experimentation.”