There are a lot of videos of scary robots floating around the Internet, but most of those creepy robots are still in the early testing stages. Then, there are the fully functional robots showcased on the Boston Dynamics YouTube channel.
If you haven’t heard of them yet, Boston Dynamics is a robotics company that seems to be inadvertently creating the world's new metallic superspecies. Since the mid-2000s, they have made a name for themselves in the tech community by sharing robot videos of their creations doing all sorts of insane things. They have robots designed after a cheetahs that can run at crazy speeds. They have autonomous pack mules like BigDog that inspire fear with every step. They even have some disturbingly human-like models like Atlas and PETMAN. With each new release, Boston Dynamics raises the bar of what robots can be - and their mind-blowing creations are as scary as they are amazing.
RiSE is an insectoid robot that can climb all sorts of vertical surfaces, including trees, walls, and fences. It has six feet covered in micro-claws, which are designed to help it cling to all manner of textured surfaces. RiSE’s body can twist and articulate to match any bends or curves on whatever it’s attached to, and it has a strong tail to ensure balance.
Boston Dynamics' WildCat is an evolution of their Cheetah design, and it has considerably more freedom. While Cheetah is capable of record-breaking speeds, it's limited to the treadmill. This update takes the Cheetah to the streets, and it's pretty impressive. Although it's a bit heftier, WildCat can run at a top speed of 16 mph. The goal is develop a version that can run up to 50 mph.
Atlas is a humanoid robot able to navigate all sorts of rough terrain. If it runs into ground that's too tough to walk across, Atlas can get on its hands and knees and crawl for additional stability.
It’s not as autonomous as some of Boston Dynamics' other models, as it requires an external power source connected by a tethered wire to operate. Regardless, Atlas is a massively capable machine. It has hands that are designed to use any tool a human can, and 28 articulation points make it very flexible.
This giraffe-like creature is the SpotMini, a compact robot that can navigate its way around a house like an actual dog. SpotMini is completely electric, and can operate for about 90 minutes on a single charge. It's pretty quiet for a Boston Dynamics robot, which means it could be used in the home without being a major annoyance. It can be fitted with an arm that can manipulate objects somewhat, although it’s a little clumsy.