Discovery News reports on more nightmare-fuel for believers in the robopocalypse:
A headless metal warrior stomps towards you, shooting. Fortunately, you’ve been training for a marathon and easily jet off to safety down an alleyway. But wait -– now a metal cheeta-bot is after you, racing faster than your puny legs can go. As the space between you and the galloping beast closes, you round a corner, see a door and dive through. It slams behind you. As you freeze, holding your breath, the robotic cat passes by outside with a wake of metallic echoes.
Relieved, you exhale into the dark. A fatal mistake -– outside, another robot has detected your breath and alerted the enemy to your location …
Waking up from this nightmare is a way to save yourself, for now, but in fact all three ‘terror’ bots it featured are based on actual prototypes being developed in California and Boston (though not with directly malicious intentions). Here’s an introduction to the motley three.
A headless humanoid is being built by Boston Dynamics. Called Atlas, it has is a heel-to-toe gait. The designers want Atlas to be able to navigate over rough terrain as well as a human can, by resorting to a crawl or turning itself sideways as the situation necessitates. He (she?) also stays upright when pushed and can currently travel at 3.2 miles per hour. Atlas is the improved version of an earlier robo-person, Petman, that was designed to test the Army’s chemical weapons suits, while mimicking human movement and physiology. Boston Dynamics recently won DARPA contracts to further develop Atlas and another robot named Cheetah.
DARPA asked Boston Dynamics to build this robot-cat with a flexible spine, movable head and possibly even a tail…
[continues at Discovery News]