Despite our recent insistence that robots are getting cuter, recent developments suggest otherwise. The Google-owned technology lab Boston Dynamics has redesigned its anthropomorphic humanoid robot Atlas, Gizmodo reports. The rebuild scraps 75 percent of the bot's original structure, and the result is not so huggable.
In a potentially unsettling nod to Ayn Rand, the robot is nicknamed Atlas Unplugged, and it features several new upgrades (none of which is an Objectivist mindset). Unlike the original Atlas, the Atlas Unplugged runs entirely on battery and no longer requires a safety line to stand upright. The humanoid has a shiny new distribution panel, new arms and forearms with a wider range of motion, and a new, quieter pressure pump so users can operate Atlas without hearing protection. Only the original lower legs and feet are still in use. Here's a GIF of the original Atlas for reference:
Only the original lower legs and feet are still in use
Atlas will take its new parts for a test run at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge finals on June 5th and 6th in Pomona, California, where teams will have to complete a series of timed trials meant to gauge the robot's response to disasters.
Last year, Google rejected DARPA's funding for Atlas, but that didn't affect the robot's popularity: up to seven of the 11 competing teams are slated to use Atlas Unplugged at the upcoming challenge.
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