Boston Dynamics has delivered many terrifyingly advanced displays of robotic technology, most recently in the form of a semi-autonomous dog that can fight its masters. But their parkour-capable humanoid is by far their freakiest invention so far.
As the video above shows, "Atlas" can handily run, jump over logs, and bolt up 15.75-inch wooden platforms that are considerably larger than a typical staircase.
But the five-foot robot's most impressive—and unnerving—trick is the perfectly executed backflip it pulls off at the end of this video.
Boston Dynamics has further details on how Atlas works:
The Atlas hardware takes advantage of 3D printing to save weight and space, resulting in a remarkable compact robot with high strength-to-weight ratio and a dramatically large workspace.
Stereo vision, range sensing and other sensors give Atlas the ability to manipulate objects in its environment and to travel on rough terrain. Atlas keeps its balance when jostled or pushed and can get up if it tips over.
The internet is rightfully fearful of Atlas. One Twitter user likened it to a beta version of The Terminator.
The Massachusetts-based engineering company has brought eight other robots to life. Each was designed for a different purpose, and all of them look like the autonomous antagonist of a sci-fi thriller.
Here five of Boston Dynamics' most impressive examples, along with descriptions from their website:
"The WildCat robot is the fastest free running quadruped robot in the World, running at 32 km/h (20 mph).WildCat uses a galloping gait much like a dog or horse and leans into turns in order to maintain traction and balance."
"BigDog has four legs that are articulated like an animal’s, with compliant elements to absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule."
"RHex is a six-legged robot with remarkable mobility on rough terrain. RHex traverses rock fields, mud, sand, vegetation, railroad tracks, telephone poles, and stairways."
"Spot is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It senses its rough-terrain environment using LIDAR and stereo vision in conjunction with a suite of on-board sensors to maintain balance and negotiate rough terrain."
"SpotMini inherits all of the mobility of its bigger brother, Spot, while adding the ability to pick up and handle objects using its 5 degree-of-freedom arm and beefed up perception sensors."
In the words of one concerned Twitter user: "Yup, we're fucked."