DARPA's ATLAS robot unveiled (w/ Video)

July 11, 2013

On Monday, July 8, 2013, the seven teams that progressed from DARPA's Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) arrived at the headquarters of Boston Dynamics in Waltham, Mass. to meet and learn about their new teammate, the ATLAS robot. Like coaches starting with a novice player, the teams now have until late December 2013 to teach ATLAS the moves it will need to succeed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials where each robot will have to perform a series of tasks similar to what might be required in a disaster response scenario.

These seven teams are not starting from scratch. Thanks to the physical modeling of the DRC Simulator, the that were successfully employed by teams in the VRC should transfer with minor tuning to the ATLAS hardware. ATLAS is one of the most advanced ever built, but is essentially a physical shell for the software brains and nerves that the teams will continue to develop and refine. That software, and the actions of a human operator through a control unit, will guide the suite of sensors, actuators, joints and limbs that make up the robot. The six-foot-two, 330-pound ATLAS is capable of a range of natural movements and is equipped with:

  • On-board real-time control computer;
  • Hydraulic pump and ;
  • Two arms, two legs, a torso and a head;
  • 28 hydraulically actuated joints;
  • Carnegie Robotics sensor head with LIDAR and stereo sensors; and
  • Two sets of hands, one provided by iRobot and one by Sandia National Labs.

In addition to the robot, the winning teams from the VRC will receive funding from DARPA and ongoing technical support from Boston Dynamics, the developer of ATLAS.

"The Virtual Robotics Challenge was a proving ground for teams' ability to create software to control a robot in a hypothetical scenario. The DRC Simulator tasks were fairly accurate representations of real world causes and effects, but the experience wasn't quite the same as handling an actual, physical robot," said Gill Pratt, program manager for the DARPA Robotics Challenge. "Now these seven teams will see if their simulation-honed algorithms can run a real machine in real environments. And we expect all teams will be further refining their algorithms, using both simulation and experimentation."

Explore further: Two Carnegie Mellon teams get nod to compete in DARPA Robotics Challenge

More information: www.theroboticschallenge.org/aboutrobots.aspx

Related Stories

HUBO ready for DARPA's Robotics Challenge trials (w/ Video)

July 11, 2013

The Humanoid Robot Research Center (HUBO Lab) at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Rainbow Co., a spin-off venture company of the university, unveiled a new model of HUBO that will be entered ...

Developing a robot that can go where humans fear to tread

October 25, 2012

It sounds like a science fiction scenario: a nuclear reactor is racing toward meltdown, and someone needs to close a valve to stop cooling water from leaking out of the reactor. Unfortunately, radiation levels near the valve ...

Recommended for you

A not-quite-random walk demystifies the algorithm

December 15, 2017

The algorithm is having a cultural moment. Originally a math and computer science term, algorithms are now used to account for everything from military drone strikes and financial market forecasts to Google search results.

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (9) Jul 11, 2013
I guess they gave him the exoframe so he would look good in ACUs
Gmr
2.5 / 5 (8) Jul 11, 2013
More likely to give nominal protection to the actuators and hydraulics. At 300 pounds it is a danger to itself in the case of a fall.
Markmj
1 / 5 (2) Jul 12, 2013
Next step in human evolution
gwrede
1 / 5 (4) Jul 13, 2013
Watching the video made me remember the first time I saw the Terminator. The next twenty years will be interesting, no doubt. However, interesting is not a synonym of nice, cool, or desirable.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.