Boston Dynamics makes real robots that live in the uncanny valley between cuddly cartoons and natural form. They’re strange, shambling mechanical monsters, like the horse-esque, cinderblock-throwing Big Dog, the sprinting Cheetah, or the stumbling humanoid ATLAS.

Funded in part by DARPA, ATLAS is ultimately destined to be a rescue robot, fitting into human-scale places that are too dangerous for humans, like nuclear reactors. In order to get to those dangerous places, it helps if it can travel across the ground.

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