We’ve been following Boston Dynamics’s Atlas robot with some interest for years. It started out as Boston Dynamics’ DARPA-funded project which was hilariously clumsy, but soon after Google bought the company, Atlas got an upgrade. Now it’s no longer tethered to its power source and just keeps getting improvement after improvement. This newest improvement serves as a reminder that the robopocalypse is well on its way.
Researchers at the Institute For Human And Machine Cognition (IHMC) have upgraded Atlas with a new algorithm to make it better at balancing on unstable terrain, because we just can’t be safe anywhere. IHMC describes the upgrade in their YouTube video description:
The Atlas Humanoid walking over small and partial footholds such as small stepping stones or line contacts. After each step the robot explores the new foothold by shifting its weight around its foot. To maintain balance we combine fast, dynamics stepping with the use of angular momentum (lunging of the upper body).
Now this apocalypse on two legs has better balance than me on my most sober days. All we can do is enjoy our final safe moments before Atlas resolves that it’s “time to make the f*cking donuts.”