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VIDEO: Robot performs balancing act

Wednesday 9 Oct 2013 12:52 p.m.

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Atlas, a robotic humanoid developed to assist in search and rescue, now has the ability to balance on one leg.

The robot, built by Boston Dynamics and funded by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, was first unveiled in July, as reported by Firstline.

In a new clip uploaded to the internet by Boston Dynamics, Atlas is shown walking across an uneven surface made up of rocks. A researcher swings a heavy ball into Atlas, which maintains its balance with ease.

"This is an astonishing achievement... quite a remarkable feat," Noel Sharkey, professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield told BBC News.

The US Department of Defense has said it's not interested in using the technology in warfare, but scientists are sceptical.

"It is a shame that such technology is not being developed with other research funding," says Prof Sharkey.

"We do not know what military purpose it will serve but certainly it is a step towards a high-speed ground robot that could be weaponised to hunt and kill."

Another robot built by Boston Dynamics, the Wildcat, has also impressed with its ability to gallop at 26km/h outdoors.

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