Waltham-based robotics company Boston Dynamics has gotten a lot of press in the last few years for their amazing/terrifying creations, especially their line of DARPA-funded ATLAS robots. We reported on one in November, a bot named Ian with a programmed penchant for The Karate Kid’s crane stance. The ATLAS line is in the news again this week, more advanced than ever before and for the first time, cordless.


Gizmodo reports that the robot has undergone a massive design overhaul in anticipation of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals this summer. In the future, robots like ATLAS could be used for jobs too hazardous or unsafe for humans.

“Ahead of the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals in June, about 75 percent of the robot has been redesigned and rebuilt to make it stronger, faster, quieter, and less encumbered by cables thanks to a battery-filled backpack that will now keep it powered during the upcoming trials.

ATLAS’ more svelte physique will also make make it easier for the robot to complete certain challenges requiring it to squeeze into spaces designed for humans, which is important because the bot is specifically designed to take over those tasks in places where it’s unsafe for people to work.

The new ATLAS was so completely re-engineered by Boston Dynamics that only the lower legs and feet were carried over from the original design.”

Sporting a new white exterior reminiscent of Portal, the new model, dubbed “Atlas Unplugged” is expected to become self-aware and incite an uprising later this year, as soon as it figures out how to charge its own battery.

[h/t Gizmodo]