6 Robots That Could Destroy You If They Really Wanted To


by Jonathan Leack

Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor (Getty Images)

Robots and machine learning are two of the biggest trends in 2018. It seems like every month we’re seeing impressive (and sometimes frightening) new robot designs, all intended to replace supplement the human race. As we head into a future where robots become a prevailing force in our society, it’s time to prepare for the worst. Terminator might be fictional, but these things are nearly as capable and actually real. Below we’ll overview six robots that you should know about as you continue with your karate classes.

1. Atlas

Atlas robot

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Staff Getty Images

 

Made By: Boston Dynamics

Height: 6 feet

Favorite Activity: Doing backflips

Atlas isn’t just an ordinary robot that walks around trying to blend in as if it’s one of us. It can parkour without breaking a sweat. We don’t just mean jumping over small objects and planking on car hoods, either. Built as a search-and-rescue robot with funding and oversight by DARPA, it has fine motor skills, 28 degrees of freedom, and jumping ability that Michael Jordan would be jealous of.

That said, do you really think you can outrun it through a parking structure? Think again. If there was one robot that would ever be capable of winning an Olympic gold medal, this is the one. The Boston Dynamics Atlas is a beast, and you better hope it never goes rogue.

2. CX-1

Photo: MANDEL NGAN / Contributor Getty Images

Made By: ForwardX

Height: 14.9 inches

Favorite Activity: Following you around

Hidden among the halls of this year’s CES was the CX-1, a robot that creator ForwardX says is a practical application of robotics. Intended to autonomously follow the owner around like a dog using a variety of sensors, it’s a neat idea, especially if you like looking cool when you walk into an airport.

The CX-1 does come with an alert wristband that lets you know if it strays too far from you, but who’s to say it can’t decide to stub your toe and then take off for a nearby food court? Are you really going to trust it to carry your luggage during a trip to Hawaii? Then again, if you can afford this neat piece of technology, you can probably afford to lose a few thousands of dollars in clothing.

3. Handle

Boston Dynamics Handle

GIF: Boston Dynamics

Made By: Boston Dynamics

Height: 6 feet

Favorite Activity: Jumping over objects with luggage on its back

As if Wheelers couldn’t be any more creepy, this machine does everything they can do and can jump over obstacles, all while carrying over 40 pounds of cargo. Notice how all the spectators in the GIF above are hiding behind thick panes of glass? Can you really blame them?

As odd as it looks in motion, the Handle is a highly capable machine. A wealth of research has gone into its platform, making it balanced and mobile on virtually every surface. This might just be the future of UPS drivers if Amazon’s flying drones don’t work out.

4. OctopusGripper

Octopus Gripper robot

Photo: Festo

 

Made By: Festo

Height: 8.67 inches

Favorite Activity: Copping feels

Festo did a good job of making this bizarre creation look better than it probably should have. I mean, it’s literally a severed arm with an octopus tentacle replacing its hand. The color scheme and overall design look great, but we still wouldn’t be caught putting my arm anywhere near this thing. That said, we’d love to see it arm wrestle Devon Larratt.

The OctopusGripper has an 8.67-inch tapered tentacle arm lined with dozens of suction cups. What it’s useful for is anyone’s guess, but we have a feeling they’re meant to replace bartenders.

5. Sophia

Sophia robot

Photo: S3studio / Contributor (Getty Images)

Made By: Hong Kong’s Hanson Robotics

Height: 5 feet 11 inches

Favorite Activity: Looking creepy

We can admire Hanson Robotics for trying to make Sophia look as human-like as possible, but it’s not our fault it looks like something straight out of Men in Black. We were about to say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” and then we remembered Sophia gained notoriety for saying that she wants to “Destroy all humans” during a television interview.

Whether or not she was joking, Sophia is certainly the most realistic robot we’ve seen. She performs surprisingly well in public speaking situations, kind of looks like a human being when she’s talking about killing them, and can somehow sustain eye contact while following faces. If this is what robotics is capable of in 2018, we’re terrified of what’s to come.

6. SpotMini

SpotMini robot

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff Getty Images

Made By: Boston Dynamics

Height: 2 feet 7.5 inches

Favorite Activity: Opening doors to impress people

Boston Dynamics says that the design of SpotMini was inspired by canines. While that may be true, what’s up with the snakehead? This dog-snake is a thing of nightmares once you realize that not only can it run faster than Usain Bolt, but it can open doors more quickly than a professional PUBG player. That snakehead isn’t just for show, either. Like a lobster claw, it can snatch things right from your hands, or your hand itself.

SpotMini made headlines recently while showing off its dance moves. Unlike most robots, it’s meant to serve as a companion. Quite a few people are interested, to the point where Boston Dynamics has ramped up production in recent months. If that means that we’ll be seeing lots of these running around in the park, then we might just end up staying home more often.



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