the Pentagon’s 6'2", 330-pound humanitarian robot. He was designed to save lives in disaster zones (like Fukushima). But while this Tin Man has a heart, he lacks a brain. In December, seven teams of scientists from top institutions, including MIT and Virginia Tech, will compete to code the bot for action. Each team will send its own Atlas into Darpa’s trials—eight tasks that will test his ability to navigate degraded terrain, drive a utility vehicle, and enter buildings. “We designed Atlas to facilitate programming, but we expect Darpa to make the competition challenging,” says Marc Raibert, president of Boston Dynamics, Atlas’ maker. Here’s the skinny on the massive bot.