Boston Dynamics, makers of pony-shaped robots, kickers of dog-sized robots, and masters of human-shaped robots, recently let its Atlas bot — that is, the Agile Anthropomorphic Robot — get some fresh air. As its name suggests, it’s easy to anthropomorphize the heck out of this fella: Watch how it stumbles through the underbrush and gait close to a human, as if the machine had twisted both ankles fleeing Sam Raimi’s lakeside cabin. (And check out that little jig after it sticks the rock-path landing.)

We’ve reached the point where robots are leaving labs and venturing into the great outdoors (if robots could blink in the unfamiliar sunlight, this is the time). The push to get robots outside has come thanks to advancements in batteries and electric motors — a lack of power-cord tether let Boston Dynamics’ cheetah bot go bounding through MIT’s campus last September. Atlas, as you can see in the above video, is still tethered — but a newer, sleeker model comes with a battery backpack.

The Atlas forest footage was shown during an hour-long lecture on making robots, which you can check out here.


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