If you think its cool to video the unboxing of your latest mobile phone - think again. Unboxing a robot has a lot more going for it and reaches a whole new level of sci-fi realized.
The Atlas robot is a standard humanoid robot to be used by competitors in the DARPA Robotics challenge. Built by Boston Dyamics, it is in the same line as Petman and BigDog. It is now being delivered to the labs that will take part and the temptation to make an unboxing video has been irresistible.
They arrive in plain of wooden crates as if they were auto parts. Next it is unwrapped and lifted out of its packing case using a crane. It looks black and threatening - just like a sci-fi movie.
The first unboxing video is from MIT:
The second is from team ViGIR (which includes TORC, TU Darmstadt, Oregon State, and Virginia Tech). In this one we first see the building of the lab, the test area for the robot, then the unboxing and finally some action with Atlas walking:
The great thing about this section of the DARPA challenge is that it focuses attention on the software. The teams all have the same robot to it all comes down to what the do with it. The extremely practical nature of the challenge also serves to focus academic minds on what we really need robots to be able to do - even if it's a bit rough and ready.
The teams will be tested against a mock disaster environment at the Homestead Miami Speedway on December 20-21st.
So the next time you even feel the slightest temptation to make an unboxing video - remember Atlas and put the phone away.