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Being and Becoming Human

Being and Becoming Human

'It walks like a crouched limbo contestant (who perhaps imbibed one too many piña coladas)' -- New York Times

A Boston company has posted a YouTube video of a human-like robot walking through the woods and carefully but quickly navigating a laboratory floor covered with uneven rocks.

Walking RobotThe robot is called “Atlas,” and it was built by Boston Dynamics. According to the New York Times:

“In a new video released by Atlas’s makers, it is hard to miss the human in the humanoid as the 6-foot-2 machine takes a casual, careful stroll through the woods. It walks like a crouched limbo contestant (who perhaps imbibed one too many piña coladas), shuffles through a wooded area, tethered by a power cord, and then breaks into a more confident, foot-slapping walk when it reaches flat ground — much as a person would. Scientists hope to make an untethered version soon.”

The work to design a humanoid robot was commissioned by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which seeks a way to assist soldiers in combat and develop machines that can assist humans in dangerous environments, such as in the aftermath of earthquakes. Boston Dynamics was awarded a $10.8 million contract to continue work on Atlas, which was developed to compete in a DARPA-sponsored competition amond several firms.

A Korean team won the competition with a robot named Hubo.



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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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