back to article Boston Dynamics' humanoid Atlas is dead, long live the ... new commercial Atlas

Atlas, the humanoid robot that's been a centerpiece of Boston Dynamics' robot lineup for nearly a decade, has been retired. In its place is, well, Atlas - an all-electric version designed for commercial use.  Boston Dynamics announced the retirement of the hydraulic version of Atlas (HD Atlas) in a video issued yesterday with …

  1. ChoHag Silver badge

    > giving future owners the ability to remotely monitor and control an entire fleet of the things.

    Now *that* sounds mildly terrifying.

    1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
      Terminator

      If Sci-fi has taught something is that everything will be all right as long as they NEVER put a red LED in the robots.

      The moment they have the ability to change their display color from white/blue to red, all bets are off.

      Exhibit A, Your Honor------------->

      1. Jumbotron64

        Or if it moves side to side and says….”By your command!”

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    001 or T001?

    Indeed. Sounds like if they aptly named it after the terminator naming scheme. T001?

    It already has plenty of surprise combat moves at it's disposal with those very high range joints.

    1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: 001 or T001?

      I think it's a cross between Robocop and Bruce Lee.

      Be very afraid.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: 001 or T001?

      I see it being called "001", where are you getting the "T"?

      Since it is battery powered, and knowing the state of lithium ion batteries, I wouldn't worry too much about it taking over the world anytime soon. Having to stop and charge every hour would leave them pretty vulnerable, as would cutting the power of the building they are trying to take over. If they get nuclear power cells like T800 had then we can start to worry!

      1. Fursty Ferret

        Re: 001 or T001?

        100% this. Even from a stationary start you can hear cooling fans screaming in the video. Terminator movies would be marginally less exciting if the T-900 had to stop to plug in an extension cable in every scene.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 001 or T001?

        They sort of are close to the terminator naming scheme. Add a T in front of it and you're right there. A T, three numbers and increasing by each new more dangerous iteration.

        Nuclear power cells plus a lot improved capabilities would be terrifying. But with 50 or maybe 60 plus percent and rising of world population living in cities and all of these robots being planned to be remotely connected, having them one day as affordable "nice harmless" household aids would be enough to take out well over half of the world population in less then half an hour if they synchronized became murderous freaks. Probably 90%+ of world population would be affected if these things became affordable enough. They don't need a lot of autonomy nor weapons when being employed in houses, factories and schools without much other security measures then some software that says "do not harm" (because they are considered harmless) if someone or a system manages to override that protection.

        Remember in the Terminator movies the machines start by nuclear war. They take out less then 50 to 90%+ of world population in a single go, while leaving much more damage to infrastructure they could use to produce new and more dangerous robots.

  3. pip25
    Terminator

    Good old Boston Dynamics

    They make great robots, but are absolutely hopeless when it comes to making them likeable by humans. (And I'm not talking about anything sophisticated, just things like their robot dogs not having a friggin' head.)

    And then they're surprised when some of their pilot projects, especially those in contact with the general public, dive head-first into the pavement.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Good old Boston Dynamics

      I think they view having it not move like a human does as a plus. Everyone is familiar with the uncanny valley for CGI, where the eyes always just look wrong, especially if they are trying to portray emotion (tbh that's true of some humans though) We haven't experienced it yet but I'm sure there is an uncanny valley for gait, where seeing something that moves almost but not quite like a human will creep people out more than something that clearly moves unlike any human does.

      There's impact in the movies when a demon possessed person in a horror film turns their head 180*, or when the female Terminator "turned around" by liquifying and reforming her body the other way around. That's because we haven't seen a person do that - I mean, no one gets freaked out when an owl turns its head 180* because everyone knows they can do that. If these robots became widespread we'd get used to the way they move, they wouldn't seem creepy that would be just how robots move just like owls move the way owls move. If they made the robot look as human as possible but they moved in this very non human way, or tried to make the robot move like a human but couldn't quite get there, that's what sets people's skin to crawling.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Good old Boston Dynamics

      Their robot dogs sort of have a friggin' head, and can even talk. Who wouldn't want a robot dog which talks like KITT?

      All they need to do now is put eyes on it so when they change colour to red we know when they've switched to evil mode.

      1. pip25
        Thumb Up

        Re: Good old Boston Dynamics

        Well, I'll be damned. They've actually learned their lesson... err, well, in part, if the current video is any indication. Past models of the same type were headless, for example the one they've given to the NYPD around 3 years ago, and the reaction was unsurprisingly abysmal.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: Good old Boston Dynamics

          The illusion works until it picks something up with its head gripper or uses it to rips people's arms off during the rise of the machines.

  4. Mitoo Bobsworth

    Why does it look like a Dyson vacuum cleaner?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dyson sprang to my mind too, but for me it was Miles Dyson.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Puts the "creep" in "scope creep"

    > Atlas began life as a DARPA project back in 2009 called PETMAN, or the Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin

    Well, that's scope creep that Oracle can only dream of!

  6. Andy 73 Silver badge

    Bad timing for Musk...

    Musk's month of hell continues... just as he's announcing that Tesla isn't a car company, it's a robots 'n' AI company, Boston Dynamics demonstrate this. I wouldn't want to be in the Optimus team right now.

    It may look unholy (and boy is it LOUD), but this machine shows what a company focussed on commercialisation rather than investor relations can do. If they can come up with a proper name (not just Atlas+++) and it is remotely as agile as the older machine, then their experiences getting Spot out into the real world will surely pay off.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Bad timing for Musk...

      Isn't Tesla still at the "putting someone in a suit" stage of Optimus or have they managed to progress to moving it around with strings?

      1. Fursty Ferret

        Re: Bad timing for Musk...

        Dunno. There are a couple of videos on Twitter which shows incredible dexterity, but debate is split over whether they're genuinely robotic or just CGI / human hands. Which is, I suppose, a sign of how far His Muskiness has fallen.

        1. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

          Re: Bad timing for Musk...

          With Musk, I assume it's all a delusion of his backed by videos the team cooked up to shut up his perpetual demands for the currently infeasible.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    P-body

    I wonder what the secret twin project P-body is capable of?

  8. 0laf Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Reminds me of the robots from the Lost in Space remake. They were not all good :-(

  9. Roger 11
    Alien

    I knew it!

    Boston Dynamics = Daystrom Institute

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