Creepy robot that could 'destroy us all' has a new rival

(Credit: Anybotics)

In May, the world got a look at Boston Dynamics' intriguing, albeit terrifying creations, Atlas and SpotMini, a humanoid and a doglike robot, respectively. The robots were performing new functions such as running through the woods and navigating around an office.

Four months may be enough time to recover from those disturbing videos, but now the world has been introduced to a new quadrapedal robot – aptly named, ANYmal.

Robotic Systems Lab at Switzerland's ETH Zurich University posted a new video of ANYmal on Sept. 21, creepily showing its ability to turn a handle, push open a door and walk through unimpeded.

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"The torque controllability of the whole system enables the implementation of compliant behavior, allowing a user to safely interact with the robot in a very natural way," Robotic Systems Lab wrote in the description of its video.

In the 2 minute and 15 second clip, an onlooker grabs the robot forcefully, pushes and shoves it, before ANYmal continues on its way down the hall.

While it is undeniably unsettling watching a robot open a closed door, the video also shows its more 'humane' side, picking up trash (what if the robot decides humanity is trash?) and placing it in a trash receptacle. It also shows the robot holding a glass of water and helping a human pick up and move a 7.3-pound box.

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ANYmal weighs 66 pounds and is able to lift payloads up to roughly 22 pounds, so it isn't likely to overthrow humanity just yet. On its website, it is described as being able to "move and operate autonomously in challenging terrain and interacts safely with the environment."

Anybotics, its creator (and a spin-off from Robotics Systems Lab), says it is "applicable on industrial indoor or outdoor sites for inspection and manipulation tasks, in natural terrain or debris areas for search and rescue tasks, or on stage for animation and entertainment."

Hopefully these delights don't have violent ends.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia