Oh, sure, we all pointed and laughed at ATLAS when it was first revealed, stumbling over simple obstacles. But it was because deep down we all knew that, like our original iPods, it would quickly evolve into something far more capable. And, here we are, just over a year later, and ATLAS is already tackling simple obstacles with ease.
Here we see IHMC Robotics performing a simple manoeuvre with an ATLAS robot where the programmers sent a single footstep plan to the humanoid. Using its onboard sensors and artificial balance, ATLAS is able to repeatedly climb up and down a small pile of cinderblocks without tumbling. It's a task even a toddler could handle, and ATLAS is roughly on the same development cycle. Except that toddlers aren't physically capable of picking up said cinderblocks and throwing them around a room. [IHMC Robotics via IEEE Spectrum]