Atlas puts all other humanoid robots to shame. Equipped with cameras, head-mounted lasers and 28 hydraulically-operated joints, Atlas can scan its surroundings and maneuver through complex environments: walking, climbing stairs and dodging debris.
The 300-pound, 6-foot 2-inch robot was created to perform disaster recovery in places unsafe for humans, such as damaged nuclear power plants. It now belongs to Google(GOOG), which recently bought Boston Dynamics, the company that designed Atlas.
Seven computer research teams from around the world are currently developing software to give Atlas a better brain, part of a $2 million contest sponsored by the Department of Defense.