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Watch Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot nail a backflip

Lucky for us they don't allow robots in the Olympics.
Image: Atlas robot
Atlas keeps its balance when jostled or pushed and can get up if it tips over.Boston Dynamics

If you're the sort of person who worries that robots are about to take over the world, you won't get much reassurance from a new YouTube video. It shows Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot deftly performing a series of box jumps before pausing briefly and launching into a backflip — and sticking the landing.

Given such remarkable strength and agility, one can only imagine what it would be like to go head-to-head with Atlas in the gym — or on the battlefield.

Lucky for us carbon-based units, the battery-powered aluminum-and-titanium bot (which in its latest incarnation stands about 4'9" and weighs 165 pounds) isn't designed to do us in but to help us out. Applications include search and rescue and working in environments too dangerous for humans, the New York Times reported in 2013.

The Department of Defense said then that it was not interested in using Atlas for warfare, according to the Times. But if that changes, all bets could be off. Or as one of the thousands who posted comments about the video put it, "This is the beginning of the end."