Boston Dynamics is back at it again with the crazy robots, and this time they’re being really, really mean to them. The company’s Atlas robot is a two-legged humanoid that can walk through snow, pick up boxes, open doors, and somehow convey the emotion of deep, intense sadness when one of its sadistic masters pushes it around with a hockey stick.
In other words, it’s a significant, incredible step up from Wildcat, the freaky, faceless, four-legged rabbit-dog-cheetah bot that first went viral in 2013.
The Atlas robots are designed to exhibit the limits of autonomous, bipedal robot technology — they’re programmed to carry out tasks and automatically respond to outside stimuli and changing environments, like unfamiliar terrain or people hitting them with hockey sticks. Atlas’ first incarnation managed to stumble along through the woods in the summer, but the new version does it over a layer of slippery, crunchy snow in the middle of winter, managing to both stay upright and look like a college freshman after their first house party at the same time.
But the new Atlas’ most remarkable new trait by far is the ability to make you feel intensely sad for a robot while simultaneously laughing your ass off. Toward the end of the video, the Boston Dynamics crew demonstrates the Atlas’ ability to pick up 10 pound boxes and move them around. But they are cruel, sadistic people, and they can’t let poor Atlas do its thing, so they start whacking the boxes out of its hands with a hockey stick, and eventually just push it over completely. But the Atlas is only down, not out, and the resulting video is, honestly, one of the most inspirational things we’ve seen all day. We highly recommend watching it with the Creed or Rocky soundtracks playing.
Watch the whole thing below.