The Pentagon's Atlas humanoid robot, unveiled publicly this week, is being called "one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built."
Atlas is the latest robot from Boston Dynamics, the developers of the Petman and AlphaDog robots, designed for the U.S. Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Unlike the previous robots, which were restricted to military use, Atlas will be turned over to civilians to program and pilot it using their own software. Seven teams that advanced through the Virtual Robotics Challenge will go to Boston Dynamics to test their software on Atlas in person.
Atlas is a 6-foot, 2-inch tall humanoid robot weighing 330 pounds, with 28 hydraulically actuated joints, unprecedented balance and a head equipped with a stereo camera and laser finder.
It also has two sets of hands, one provided by iRobot and one by Sandia National Labs. In the future, Atlas will have enough sensors in its hands to use tools designed for human use.
Atlas is shown climbing stairs, navigating obstacles, and getting hit with a sandbag and staying upright.
Other teams are funded to build their own complete robots to compete against Atlas in the challenge.
Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center's robot is called CHIMP, Drexel University's is Hubo and Virginia Tech developed T.H.O.R.
NASA has two robots in contention; RoboSimian from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Valkyrie from Johnson Space Center.