WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
As the field of robotics continues to advance we’re beginning to witness the first signs of the emergence of robots that, outside of their traditional factory setting, could be truly useful.
With their advanced sensors, hiding from robots has never been an option, but running from their often plodding frames has been, until now. ATLAS, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, can now run after you, and if you’re thinking that running over rough terrain could save you, well, sorry my friend, Atlas mastered the art of walking over rocks last year. And Parkour, I almost forgot to mention that one. Sorry… oh and balancing. Okay, I’m done now.
Three years ago former Google robotics outfit Boston Dynamics demonstrated its Terminator-like humanoid Atlas robot running through a forest tethered to a machine. Now that same hauntingly human robot can now run across and navigate uneven terrain unaided, bounding over the trickiest of obstacles … such as a log.
Watch Atlas run
The new video shows Atlas running in what can only be described as a showy jog, striding with purpose and hinting that at any stage it might break into a lightning-quick sprint.
The new Atlas is actually smaller and lighter than is forbearer, weighing 80kg and standing tall at 1.75 metres (5 feet 9 inches), and there’s even been a version fitted with wheels allowing it to zip across rooms, jump on to tables and terrify human observers.
Now though the biped robot has seemingly conquered jogging across grass, which means not even park run is safe from the tyranny of robots, and as for what’s next? Well, it’s probably just going to get faster and better at everything, so it’s time to get your running shoes on and start training for the time when the robots take over… faster, faster, faster. Ah, forget it.