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Unboxing Boston Dynamics' DARPA-Ready Atlas Robot

timothy posted about a year ago | from the bigdog-is-creepy-enough dept.

Robotics 42

mikejuk writes with some robot eye candy, in the form of this excerpt: "If you think its cool to video the unboxing of your latest mobile phone — think again. Unboxing a robot has a lot more going for it and reaches a whole new level of sci-fi realized. The Atlas robot is a standard humanoid robot to be used by competitors in the DARPA Robotics challenge. Built by Boston Dynamics, it is in the same line as Petman and BigDog. It is now being delivered to the labs that will take part and the temptation to make an unboxing video has been irresistible They arrive in plain of wooden crates as if they were auto parts. Next it is unwrapped and lifted out of its packing case using a crane. It looks black and threatening — just like a sci-fi movie but watch the videos and see."

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Unimpressed (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44791469)

If the robot is so advanced, why can't it unbox itself?

Re:Unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44791511)

And I'm sure it can't blend itself!

Re:Unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44792633)

It can, but only once.

Re:Unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44791631)

Came here to say exactly this. Are there any videos or swarm robots self assembling inside their packaging? Well, you probably can't buy pre-made swarm robots like that.

Re:Unimpressed (4, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#44791787)

Why does it even need a box? If it's an advanced robot all it should need is a plane ticket and some cab money.

Re:Unimpressed (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44792243)

If it really was advanced it would transform itself into a frickin' jet and fly itself to destination, including vertical takeoff and landing.

Re:Unimpressed (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44792757)

If it really was advanced it would transform itself into a frickin' jet and fly itself to destination, including vertical takeoff and landing.

If it's DARPA ready, where are the red glowing eyes and weapons to kill humans?

Re:Unimpressed (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year ago | (#44792343)

Why does it even need a box? If it's an advanced robot all it should need is a plane ticket and some cab money.

Heh, nice!

As we all (should) know;

"I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin' while
my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.
I'd unravel every riddle for any individ'le,
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts you'll be thinkin'
you could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain.
Oh, I could tell you why The ocean's near the shore.
I could think of things I never thunk before.
And then I'd sit, and think some more.
I would not be just a nothin' my head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain."

-That's why.

Whether one is talking about hardware or wetware, no matter how "advanced", without the *software* they are both about equally as much an "automaton" as a $5 wrench.

Considering the scale and the /. predilection for car analogies, perhaps a better comparison would be more like equaling the ability of the latest experimental computerized high-tech car engine to hop a red-eye flight and a cab.

Strat

Re:Unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809321)

Could you see that robot walking up to the TSA monkey? LOL that would be too funny. No bags, one way ticket. "Step over here sir"

Re:Unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44794143)

Here are some videos of the University of Hong Kong's Atlas walking, and playing rock,paper,scissors.

Rock Paper Scissors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHLW-TkG7O4
Walking 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7GOwoXeMb4
Walking 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvTb9pIK4Ao

Re:Unimpressed (1)

harperska (1376103) | about a year ago | (#44803849)

That was my thought as well. With the hype the summary gave to the unboxing of a robot, I was expecting a self-unboxing robot. Not only would it be genuinely cool, it might even have some DARPA value. Imagine a C130 or Chinook offloading a crate of boxed robots, and the Future Soldier (tm) just has to push a button and you have a squad of Big Dogs ready to go.

Instead, we got an inert robot being hoisted up by a rope pulley. I am sure that the robot itself is quite advanced, but it might as well have just been the Mythbusters unboxing their latest Buster dummy for all of the high tech sophistication shown in the video.

News that matters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44791605)

Robot gets unboxed.

Re:News that matters (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44791653)

I dunno, that video is at least twice as exciting as opening the box for a mobile phone!

Re:News that matters (4, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year ago | (#44792713)

[News that matters...]

Robot gets unboxed.

How about someone unboxing a full-size, fully-functional "Atlas" like *this*?

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/807/mech.png/ [imageshack.us]

Would that qualify as "news that matters"?

Besides, you'd be better be nice. Some of the TFA's Atlas's close relatives may be armed and patrolling and manning checkpoints in and around your neighborhood before too long.

"In Soviet US, droids look for YOU!"

You know what's even worse than "Skynet"-style AI-controlled armies of "Terminator"-style cyborgs/robots?

Government/human-controlled armies of "Terminator"-style cyborgs/robots.

At least an emotionless AI has no concept of enjoying other's suffering/pain, or blind and illogical hatred, revenge for revenge's sake, lust for power, wealth, and domination, or any of a thousand other similar negative human thoughts/feelings/behaviors.

How long do you think that the US government would continue to even pretend to acknowledge individual rights, Rule of Law, or any limits at all set by the US Constitution, if they had a functional robotic army and didn't have to worry about the human US military fracturing if ordered to attack US citizens en-masse? The speed of their deciding our fate would rival that of Skynet's.

"Give me a plasma rifle in the 40-watt range."

Strat

Re:News that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44798035)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Byz5nd5Fza4&feature=c4-overview&list=UUAEbNT9kgvA0C7n5A3rRPww

How about (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44791637)

How about a video of this robot's box [wikipedia.org] .

Re:How about (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | about a year ago | (#44793205)

Perv.

It would be a lot more impressive (3, Funny)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44791639)

... if you pushed a button and it smashed it's way out of it's own crate, stood up, and roared. :)

Y'know what would be really impressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44794363)

... if you pushed a button and it smashed it's way out of it's own crate, stood up, and roared. :)

If you didn't write "it smashed it is way out of it is own crate"...

hugs and comfort (1)

Meyaht (2729603) | about a year ago | (#44798637)

there their they're... now nau.. it's ok grammar nazi, itll be alright...

You children will think it is less "cool" when ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44791683)

robots like this are used against you or someone you care about.

Machines which can hurt people are not "cool".

Only children and mentally ill adults have this misconception.

Re:You children will think it is less "cool" when (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about a year ago | (#44795699)

robots like this are used against you or someone you care about.

Machines which can hurt people are not "cool".

Only children and mentally ill adults have this misconception.

You won't be saying that when one of them is picking a car up of you or your loved one.

what has science wrought?!!! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#44801805)

Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming.

also:

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Give it five years (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44791691)

Give this five to ten years and they will print themselves. Of course you'll need to purchase a license for each one.

Re:Give it five years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44792071)

Give this five to ten years and they will print themselves. Of course they'll need to purchase a license for each one.

There, fixed it for you.

Ridiculous (3, Interesting)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | about a year ago | (#44791739)

Intense music with powerful electric guitars set to 1 minute of video of a machine wiggling about a bit while strung up to high-power cables and solid steel scaffolding. It is so pretentious and unimpressive that it can only pass as pure comedy. Boston Dynamics is a black hole for funding.

No, reality. (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44791879)

Boston Dynamics is a black hole for funding.

No, that's what it costs to play in this game. There are theoretical problems to be solved, for which solutions may not be known. There are also many practical problems to be solved in mechanical design, actuation, and electronics. Those will yield to money and routine engineering effort.

That was the lesson of the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2003-2005. Until then, the typical robotics project was a professor and three to five grad students, and it took years to make minor advances. DARPA had been putting money into automatic driving since the 1960s without getting anything useful out. Dr. Tony Tether, the DARPA director at the time, decided that academic robotics needed a major kick in the ass. The DARPA Grand Challenge did that.

It wasn't the $1M prize which caused major universities to devote big chunks of their CS departments to that project. It was the threat that if they didn't do well, their DARPA funding would be cut off for failure. Fear worked as a motivator.

A side effect of the 2003-2005 Grand Challenge was that many key components, like integrated INS/GPS combos and LIDAR systems, became smaller, cheaper, and better, now that there was some demand. The original CMU INS/GPS combo took 9U of rack space and required air conditioning. Three years later, you could get that in a box the size of a thick book.

Re:No, reality. (2)

Assmasher (456699) | about a year ago | (#44793703)

It wasn't the $1M prize which caused major universities to devote big chunks of their CS departments to that project. It was the threat that if they didn't do well, their DARPA funding would be cut off for failure. Fear worked as a motivator.

Either that or coincidentally this was just about the time when effective computer vision techniques (frame decompression->frame stabilization->multi-gaussian/edge/optical flow->motion map recognizer->Useful meta data) could run at decent framerates without very large and expensive hardware.

That's what it seemed like in the industry at least...

Re:No, reality. (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44801541)

Either that or coincidentally this was just about the time when effective computer vision techniques (frame decompression->frame stabilization->multi-gaussian/edge/optical flow->motion map recognizer->Useful meta data) could run at decent framerates without very large and expensive hardware.

No, the vision systems used were much dumber than that. The vision system in the winning Stanford car really answered only one question - is the distant part of the road, beyond LIDAR range, like the near part of the road, where a full 3D profile was available from the LIDAR units? If so, and the near part of the road looked flat and safe, the vehicle could speed up and out-drive its LIDAR range. In difficult areas, almost all vehicles relied on LIDAR data.

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44793245)

Seriously. Who is the pud-pulling asshole that chose the music? Was his last job 3rd shift manager at Burger King?

The music is as cheesy as any 1980's porn synthesizer abomination.

Very nice machinery (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44791799)

That's a nice piece of machinery. Much good mechanical engineering went into that robot. It took $120 million to get to this point, via BigDog and the LS3. DARPA is really throwing money at this, and it's working.

The DARPA competition in a simulator in August indicates that the perception software is getting reasonably good, but the movement software from the teams still sucks. The best team had 12 falls in simulation. My guess is that the results in December 2013 won't be very impressive, but by round 2, in 2014, the robots will be moving much better.

Teams are provided with a .so file (no source) from Boston Dynamics which allows control of the robot and has some functions for basic walking behavior. But the code Boston Dynamics provides to teams is not the good stuff they use internally.

Rrrrrrooowrr! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44791973)

Hey baby! How's about you and I get together and... kill all humans?

Re:Rrrrrrooowrr! (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44792257)

In fact, forget the blackjack!

Uh, no (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44792159)

> If you think its cool to video the unboxing of your latest mobile phone

I do not. "Unboxing" is like watching someone else's kids open christmas presents. They are the tech-bloggers' equivalent of a selfie.

ObUSSR (1)

drcheap (1897540) | about a year ago | (#44792195)

In Soviet Russia, robot unboxes you!

Something misssing... (1)

mpaque (655244) | about a year ago | (#44792457)

What? No Bear McCreary soundtrack?

Help me... (1)

RedBear (207369) | about a year ago | (#44793109)

Blargh... I'm having Saturn 3 flashbacks. Anyone seen Harvey Keitel wandering around?

But according to Star League Records... (1)

hedgemage (934558) | about a year ago | (#44793117)

Aleksandr Kerensky didn't commission the construction of the AS7 series of battlemechs until 2755! Did someone discover a lost data core that contradicts this?

(Only real geeks will understand this reference.)

Meh (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44793255)

After it was uncovered it should have slowly risen by itself, like Frankenstein's monster or a Zombie. This was boooring!

'Unboxing' has been officially declared dead. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#44794187)

This Brony Unboxing a Happy Meal [youtube.com] Youtube video from 2012 completely killed the 'Unboxing' movement. For gawsh sakes. Who cares. Take it out of the box in private.

R&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44797831)

Hey, look, and bunch of super smart guys researching walking robots, instead of researching and building... they buy one. Well, not doing the actual hard legwork and gaining the experience equates to smart I guess.

Gives whole new meaning to "buying your degree", might as well call it: buying your research.

Parts is parts... (1)

Sabathius (566108) | about a year ago | (#44798817)

It looks like it's made out of bicycles and lawn mowers. :D
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