Speed Reads

meet and greet

Chuck Hagel meets-and-greets with 6-foot-tall, 330-pound Terminator-like robot

Getty Images/MARK WILSON

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spent his Tuesday at the Pentagon looking at new products from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — including a life-sized robot that resembles something from the Terminator movie.

The 6-foot-2-inch hulking piece of steel, wires, and computers peered ominously at Hagel while he watched videos of what the 330-pound bot is capable of. But unlike the movies where robots are portrayed as deadly warriors, this one is used for good, such as rescuing natural disaster victims from rubble, insisted DARPA official Brad Tousley.

The Atlas robot is one of the entrants in a DARPA-led contest to produce robots for the greater good. And that's not a knock against its capabilities: Building robots that can open doors and carry large objects requires daunting feats of engineering, said Tousley. -- Jordan Valinsky