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Google Robot Doesn’t Punch You If You Knock It Down. Yet.

Boston Dynamics, the robotics company Google acquired in its mad robotics spree two years ago, is very good at making robots that can handle a surprise — or take a beating.

Here's its latest. Meet Atlas, an upgraded version of its humanoid — a five-foot-nine, 180-pound biped that walks upright, picks things up and will probably elicit some gasps of awe and concern. Most robots are good at repetitive tasks, but fail when something goes awry. Atlas is designed to deal with extenuating circumstances.

You can watch it traipse through the snow, catching its balance before falling. Indoors, a handler knocks a box out of its hands; Atlas moves over to pick it up. When another human throws it down with a stick, Atlas pushes itself up.

Thomas Vogel | E+ | Getty Images

Boston Dynamics, one of the oldest firms among Google's hodgepodge robotics group, primarily works with the military, although it hasn't announced any major business deals since joining Google.

In December, after a year of relatively rudderless direction, Google put the entire robotics group inside Google X, its hardware research incubator. The following month X announced it had hired Hans Peter Brondmo, a tech veteran most recently from Nokia, to lead the unit.

By Mark Bergen, Re/code.net.

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