Watch the ATLAS robot take a stroll through the woods and open doors

It’s been a few months since we heard anything new from the notoriously secretive robotics company Boston Dynamics, but according to a newly released video, the organization clearly hasn’t been resting on its laurels. Earlier this month, the company’s founder, Marc Reibert, gave a presentation at the FAB 11 Conference at MIT — a presentation that happened to feature some unreleased footage of what the company has been working on lately.

The first bot in the video is definitely the weirdest. It’s essentially a modified version of the company’s newest robotic dog (Spot) outfitted with a “manipulator” arm on its face. This freakish new appendage gives the normally handless robot the ability to grasp objects and execute complex tasks, such as grabbing a knob, turning it, and pushing open a door.

Even more impressive than the arm-face bot, however, is BD’s new-and-improved ATLAS bot. In the video, the bipedal humanoid bot is shown taking a stroll through the woods — something it wasn’t previously able to do. While the company’s quadrupedal bots like BigDog and Spot have long been capable of traversing outdoor environments, ATLAS has thus far been confined to a lab.

“We’re interested in getting this robot out into the world,” Reibert explains. “[Being] out in the world is a totally different challenge than [being] in the lab — you can’t predict what its going to be like. All kinds of stuff happens out there, and we’re making pretty good progress on making [the robot] so that it has mobility that’s sort of within shooting range of yours. I’m not saying it can do all the things you can do, but you can imagine that if we keep pushing, we’ll get there.”

The most interesting part of Reibert’s presentation wasn’t the new video footage, though — it was the slides he gets to afterward. Toward the end of his presentation, Reibert offers up a glimpse at BD’s “vision for the future” — a new construction approach that does away with clunky limb design of the company’s first-generation bots. Rather than using a bunch of parts, motors, and hydraulic components bundled together to create a robot’s limb, BD has plans to use 3D-printed legs/arms with hydraulic components built directly into their structure. Check out the picture above.

“I can’t show you the robot yet, but we’re pursuing this pretty aggressively,” Reibert says, “and I think by the end of the year, you’ll see robots from us that use an approach of fabrication that’s more like that.”

Check out the whole presentation here — it’s definitely worth a watch.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Mobile

Huawei in for a rough year as feds investigate alleged trade secrets theft

Huawei is also facing issues in the U.S., but it doesn't seem like that will end any time soon. According to a new report, the company is facing a federal investigation in the U.S. for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.