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.