Awesome/Terrifying Robots That May Turn Against Us

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If you’ve seen the Terminator movies, you know how Skynet becomes self-aware and tries to destroy the human race with killer robots. Obviously, that’s just science-fiction make-believe, so no need to worry, right?

Ummmmm, have you heard of Boston Dynamics and DARPA? The former is an engineering and robotics design company that builds highly advanced robots for organizations worldwide, including the US Army; the latter is part of the Department of Defense that develops new technologies for the military.

Are we saying that these robots will rise up and try to enslave us? No, we’re saying these robots are just awesome enough to be terrifying.

1. Cheetah

Cheetah can reach speeds up to 28 mph. A new free-running version would be able to chase down Usain Bolt.

2. Big Dog

Big Dog can carry heavy loads, go over any terrain and absorb shocks. If it ever turns against its creators, at least it’s not the quietest robot.

3. SandFlea

SandFlea carries an onboard camera and can jump 30 feet. Imagine these chasing you as you try to hide on a rooftop.

4. RiSE

Think you just need to be higher than 30 feet to escape the machines? RiSE can climb vertical terrain ranging from walls to trees to fences.

5. RHex

RHex can survive wet conditions. Forget hiding on an island somewhere.

6. LS3

The LS3 can carry up to 400 lbs of equipment and can follow another LS3 using GPS. Does that sound like a robot army to you?


Now this looks like a Terminator. PETMAN was designed to test chemical protection clothing. It can move freely, balance itself and even do pushups. This is a precursor to the more advanced Atlas robot, which is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2013. If your name happens to be John Connor, you might want to consider changing that.

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Neal Stastny (@NealStas) is a comedian and writer in New York.