A state-of-the-art humanoid “Robo-Warrior” was introduced to Americans on Thursday in Waltham, Mass., and homeland security, anti-terrorism and warfare will never be the same if the claims of its effectiveness prove true, according to police and military leaders.
Standing 6-foot 2-inches tall and weighing 330-pounds, the new Atlas robot was built by Boston Dynamics with funding provided by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Its creators claim that it’s designed to help humankind deal with future disasters, but a number of observers believe it is the robot’s war-waging capabilities that are attracting the attention of the Pentagon.
According to American Forces Press Service, “The goal of the ongoing DARPA Robotics Challenge, or DRC is to enable groundbreaking research and development in hardware and software to help robots perform the most-hazardous jobs in human-supervised humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief operations, to reduce casualties, avoid more destruction and save lives.”
Officials at Boston Dynamics stated, “Atlas is a high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain. Atlas can walk bipedally leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment. In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces.”
Officials say that Atlas is capable of utilizing tools designed for human use. “Atlas includes 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet and a torso,” according to Boston Dynamics.
A good example of a scenario in which Atlas would be useful occurred during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster following the deadly earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
If responders were able to vent the reactors, then the explosions would not have occurred and the disasters would have been much less severe, according to Cheryl Pellerin of American Forces Press Service.
“Human beings, in fact, tried to do it but had to turn around and go back because their radiation dosimeters read too high. That was a perfect place where, if we could have sent a machine in quickly during the first day, the disaster would have been much less destructive.” wrote Pellerin.