The world's 'most advanced' human-style robot just got even more powerful.
Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot—famous for its parkour skills—has been given human-style hands, allowing it to grip objects and even throw them.
While the robot previously only used its arm for balance, a video by Boston Dynamics shows Atlas lifting planks, toolbags, and heavy weights all while staying upright.
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In fact, Atlas is even able to jump, run, and spin around while carrying heavy objects on shaky ground, meaning it can do a better job of heavy lifting than most humans.
Robin Deits, a software engineer at Boston Dynamics, explained how tricky the upgrade has been: "When we're trying to manipulate something like a plank, we have to just make pretty educated guesses about where is the plank, how fast is it moving, how do we need to move the arms to cause the plank to spin 180 degrees very quickly, and if we get those estimates wrong we end up doing silly things and falling over."
This is just one step towards teaching Atlas to perform roles normally reserved for humans. There's still limitations on what it can do, as its claw grippers are a little too strong and leave visible damage on any object they pick up.
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Some Twitter users reacted with fear to the reveal. One user, Vilin, said: "These 'fun' videos give me chills. Upgrade this thing with a better power source, plus an advanced AI, and you'll have an excellent weapon system.
"What are the odds that this sort of tech will not be used in warfare against humans within a few decades? We need to be very careful."
Another user wrote: "Knowing a bit more about human governments than when I was a kid, I am quite certain that these robots will become the robot soldiers of tomorrow."
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