Meet the Pentagon's latest robotic abomination: ATLAS

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No, it's not a souped-up version of Robby the Robot — it's ATLAS, DARPA's latest attempt at creating a humanoid robot. Unlike the super-realistic Petman, which was designed to test chemical protection clothing, this 330-pound monster is meant to assist in emergency situations. Riiiight...

We've seen a proto-version of ATLAS before, but this updated unit can perform a host of new tricks, like walking through rugged terrain and climb using its hands as feet. It has 28 hydraulically actuated degrees of freedom, and of course, two hands, arms, legs, feet, and a torso with some kind of fancy-ass monitor on it that probably goes "ping!" every once in a while.


Its head is equipped with stereo cameras and — ahem — a laser finder.


Eventually, DARPA says the 6-foot robot will use its articulated and sensate hands to use tools designed for humans.

Hmmm, by "tools" I wonder if they mean "machine gun."


Anyway, the robot was developed as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, which is meant to help develop machines that can cope with disasters and hazardous environments like nuclear power plant accidents.