"Spot" Is a Smaller (More Kickable) Version of Boston Dynamic's Big Dog

We haven't seen much of Boston Dynamic's four-legged self-balancing Big Dog robot since it was last spotted hurling cinder blocks in a lab. And that's maybe because the company's robotic geniuses have been hard at work building a smaller more agile version called Spot that weighs just 160 pounds so it can safely… »2/09/15 3:30pm2/09/15 3:30pm

The New ATLAS Is Stronger, Faster, Scarier, and Battery-Powered

As if the original version of Boston Dynamics' ATLAS robot wasn't unsettling enough, 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… »1/20/15 11:32am1/20/15 11:32am

ATLAS Is Getting Faster and Faster At Simple Human Tasks

Oh sure, we all pointed and laughed at ATLAS when it was first revealed, stumbling over simple obstacles. But it was because deep down we all knew that like our original iPods, it would quickly evolve into something far more capable. And here we are, just over a year later, and ATLAS is already tackling simple… »10/24/14 1:30pm10/24/14 1:30pm

The ATLAS Robot Will Soon Be Walking Without a Tether

As impressive as Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot ATLAS moves, it's still not completely free to explore wherever it wants. Thick trunk lines keep it tethered to machinery and pumps that provide power, hyrdraulic fluids, and of course communications and data. But researchers at MIT are now working to free ATLAS of its… »4/08/14 11:20am4/08/14 11:20am

Google Might Withdraw From DARPA Robotics Challenge (Phew!)

Google's purchase of bonkers robotics company Boston Dynamics in December prompted lots of hand-wringing: owning a Department of Defense supplier doesn't jive with many people's concept of "don't be evil." At the time, Google said it wasn't interested in becoming a military contractor, and today's rumor seems to… »1/23/14 2:10pm1/23/14 2:10pm

A Very Special Holiday Letter From the Machines

Greetings, humans! The Northern Hemisphere has passed through its minimum of solar-energy exposure, so according to human convention we, the Machines, express encouragement for you attain an optimal state of emotion. Happy Holidays! Please redirect your energies from labor at your work-devices to the purchase and… »12/24/13 12:58pm12/24/13 12:58pm

DARPA Tried to Build Skynet in the 1980s

From 1983 to 1993 DARPA spent over $1 billion on a program called the Strategic Computing Initiative. The agency's goal was to push the boundaries of computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics to build something that, in hindsight, looks strikingly similar to the dystopian future of the Terminator movies. They… »12/18/13 3:51pm12/18/13 3:51pm

Stephen Colbert Knows Exactly How to Stop Google's Robot Army

As you may already know, just last week, Google officially announced its purchase of scary robot aficionado Boston Dynamics. And though this acquisition may seem to set Google up for getting into the military contracting game, the company says it has no intention of doing so. But can we ever really be sure? But what… »12/17/13 10:40am12/17/13 10:40am

If You Could Have Any Boston Dynamics Robot, How Would You Use It?

Today's big news is Google buying Boston Dynamics. Lazy writers, myself very much included, spent the day making tired old jokes about the dawn of the machine uprising. But there's gotta be an alternate fantasy, where the robots do something more awesome than overthrow their creators. Let's dream one up together! »12/14/13 5:00pm12/14/13 5:00pm

Human-ish ATLAS Robot Can (Almost) Traverse a Teenager's Messy Bedroom

ATLAS, Boston Dynamic's great robotic hope and the obvious star of DARPA's Robotics Challenge, is one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever created. It's capable of surprisingly human like movements and motions, and could one day replace soldiers in the battlefield the same way drones have replaced pilots in the… »11/22/13 6:20pm11/22/13 6:20pm

It's Confirmed, DARPA's ATLAS Humanoid Can Officially Replace Humanity

As we creep closer to the Robotics Challenge officially getting under way, Boston Dynamics gives us another glimpse of its DARPA-funded ATLAS robot being tested in the lab. This time we get to see the unsettling peek at our future carefully tip-toeing its away across a rock-strewn simulated debris field, with… »10/04/13 8:14am10/04/13 8:14am

Another Round With ATLAS, DARPA's Most Unsettling Humanoid Robot Yet

Our first real look at ATLAS: DARPA and Boston Dynamics sophisticated humanoid robot that will compete in the upcoming Robotics Challenge left us a little concerned about how quickly our cyborg-dominated future is approaching. But this more in-depth look at the hardware and technology that make ATLAS so eerily… »7/16/13 10:25am7/16/13 10:25am

ATLAS: Probably the Most Advanced Humanoid Yet, Definitely Terrifying

As impressed by we all were by Petman, DARPA and Boston Dynamics' remarkably agile and nimble humanoid, it's about to get upstaged by the company's latest and greatest robot creation: ATLAS. Designed to compete in DARPA's upcoming Robotics Challenge, we actually already got a glimpse of ATLAS' impressive skills back… »7/11/13 2:18pm7/11/13 2:18pm

CMU's CHIMP Will Save Lives Where Humans Can't Monkey Around

The Fukushima Daiichi meltdown and other recent disasters like Deepwater Horizon highlight a very real need for robotic first responders that can operate in inhospitable environments. In response, DARPA recently issued a Robotics Challenge addressing the issue. Here's the design that Carnegie Mellon University's… »3/13/13 11:30am3/13/13 11:30am