See a robot grab and launch Boston Dynamics Atlas, like people do
Boston Dynamics’ Atlas machines aim to be the humans of the robot world when it comes to physical capabilities. They can already parkour and gymnastics, but recent updates have added new skills that make bots look even more like people than before.
When we saw Atlas kill a parkour course in 2021, he had chunky hand appendages. Today’s Atlas, star of a Boston Dynamics video released Wednesday, has pliers and a sense of show-robot-ship.
The video looks like a construction vignette with a human who forgot his tools while standing on an elevated platform. The worker calls Atlas to pick up his tool bag. The robot bravely builds a bridge, grabs the bag, jumps to a higher place and throws the bag to its boss. He then performs a gymnastic-style descent.
The video is a demonstration of gripper-style hand grippers and the robot’s ability to modify its environment and accurately throw a heavy object to complete a task. A behind-the-scenes video explains in detail how the robot perceives and manipulates objects.
Atlas has come a long way. Less than a decade ago, a CNET writer commented that an early version of the robot was “terrible at karate.” Boston Dynamics uses Atlas as a testbed to test new robotics technologies and capabilities.
Another much-discussed humanoid robot is the AI-driven Tesla Optimus robot, which is a very different animal (excuse me – robot) from Atlas. It’s also in an earlier stage of development, so don’t expect any Atlas-Optimus matchups in the near future. The two machines show how humanity is working to realize the sci-fi dream of robots made in our image.
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