With all the natural disasters that happen these days, the Pentagon thought it was about time that it created a humanitarian robot to save lives. The 6-Foot, 330-Pound robot nicknamed Atlas is supposed to save lives in disaster zones like Fukushima. Although it looks pretty capable, the robot still lacks a brain, with seven teams of scientists from top places like MIT and Virginia Tech competing to code the robot for action come December. The competition will have each team sending their own Atlas into trails like how it can navigate terrain, drive a utility vehicle and enter buildings. According to Marc Raibert, president of Boston Dynamics, Atlas’ maker, Atlas was designed to facilitate programming, with the upcoming competition pretty challenging for the teams.
Atlas features an onboard computer system that monitors sensors, controls, collects data and communicates with a remote user, while its vision is powered by liar, stereo cameras and perception algorithms in the robot’s head-mounted sensor package for a wide field of view. Its wrists can accept all sorts of accessories given the situation, with some including fingers so that Atlas can use tools. Its 28 hydraulically actuated joints allows Atlas full range of motions (crunching, kneeling, jumping, etc.) and can handle stairs and rough terrain. Made of mostly aluminum, steel and titanium, it’s good for crash protection, while it’s feet can take heel-to-toes strides.