Robot Design: “Meet ATLAS” 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge

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‘Say hello to ATLAS, one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built!

ATLAS was developed for DARPA by Boston Dynamics. Software-focused teams from Tracks B and C of the DARPA Robotics Challenge will use the robot to compete in the first physical competition of the Challenge in December 2013 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks to advance the technology necessary to create robots capable of assisting humans in disaster response.

For more information on ATLAS and the Challenge, please visit .’

Public domain film from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Atlas is a bipedal humanoid robot primarily developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics, with funding and oversight from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The 6-foot (1.8 m) robot is designed for a variety of search and rescue tasks, and was unveiled to the public on July 11, 2013…

Design and development

The design and production of Atlas was overseen by the DARPA, an agency of the United States Department of Defense, in cooperation with Boston Dynamics. One of the robot’s hands was developed by Sandia National Laboratories, while the other was developed by iRobot. In 2013, DARPA program manager Gill Pratt compared the prototype version of Atlas to a small child, saying that “a 1-year-old child can barely walk, a 1-year-old child falls down a lot … this is where we are right now.”

Atlas is based on Boston Dynamics’ earlier PETMAN humanoid robot, and has four hydraulically-actuated limbs. Constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum and titanium, it stands approximately 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighs 330 pounds (150 kg), and is illuminated with blue LEDs. Atlas is equipped with two vision systems — a laser rangefinder and stereo cameras, both controlled by an onboard computer — and has hands with fine motor skill capabilities. Its limbs possess a total of 28 degrees of freedom. Atlas can navigate rough terrain and climb independently using its arms and legs, although the 2013 prototype version was tethered to an outside power supply to maintain stability.


Atlas is intended to aid emergency services in search and rescue operations, performing tasks such as shutting off valves, opening doors and operating powered equipment in environments where humans could not survive. The Department of Defense stated in 2013 that it had no interest in using the robot for offensive or defensive warfare.

In 2014, Atlas robots programmed by six different teams will compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge to test the robot’s ability to perform various tasks, including getting in and out of a vehicle and driving it, opening a door, and using a power tool. A variety of other robots will also compete. The contest was inspired by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, and carries a US$2 million prize for the winning team…

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4 thoughts on “Robot Design: “Meet ATLAS” 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge

  1. Just another …
    Just another private business scamming public money for government contracts?

    All to develop weapons that will better oppress humanity

    Great stuff

  2. Any nano fluids …
    Any nano fluids that bring about a self healing quality? to a puncture used?
    With further development in cloak and noise cancelation, this would really enhance positive out comes of strategies.

  3. 330 lbs 6 feet 2 …
    330 lbs 6 feet 2 inches tall. all that comes to my mind is terminator and i robot. theses things turn against us. thats it for? us

  4. I WANT ONE !, ‘tho …
    I WANT ONE !, ‘tho the likeness to ,”Terminator”, is pretty frightening.; love the reciprocating ‘hands’, and ‘wrists’. Now, when will it be given fully functioning hands and fingers? I’d like to see it, ‘read’, music, and, play the piano…for a start. Also, give it a more reasonably, ‘human-like’ face, and an interactive? voice more soothing than any GPS..
    Can it cook? Clean the house? Drive a car? Protect its owner? I realize that bipedal locomotion and balance are difficult.

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