"A robot's nimble steps in a snowy forest have wowed the world's robotics industry," said Matt McFarland at Washington Post. Google-owned Boston Dynamics recently unveiled footage of its latest version of Atlas, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound human-like robot boldly treading where no other robot has gone before. In the video, Atlas ambles through a field, occasionally slipping, "but always catching its balance."

While many two-legged robots can walk, robotics experts say none "has been able to navigate uneven, unpredictable terrain." There are no consumer applications for Atlas so far, but some think the machine will pave the way for robots that can take on complex tasks like preparing meals or caring for the elderly. "It's a huge step toward getting robots that can actually operate in our world," said Georgia Tech robotics professor Aaron Ames.