How do you improve upon a $2 million humanoid robot that can use tools, drive a car, and even perform karate stances? By unplugging it. That’s what Boston Dynamics did to its Atlas robot by overhauling 75 percent of the bot’s body to enable it to run smoothly and efficiently on battery power. On Monday, Feb. 9, the company returned WPI’s Atlas robot, named WARNER, after it underwent three months of upgrades.
WARNER (WPI’s Atlas Robot for Nonconventional Emergency Response) is the centerpiece of WPI’s entry into the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), a competition aimed at creating a robot that can assist people in responding to disasters.
WPI-CMU, a joint team with members from WPI and Carnegie Mellon University, successfully completed the DRC Trials in December 2013, when WARNER took on tests such as turning on a fire hose, climbing a ladder, and driving a vehicle. Since then, the team has been busy preparing for the DCR Finals, taking place in Pomona, Calif., on June 5-6, 2015.