Little by little Boston Dynamics is getting closer to a truly convincing humanoid Atlas robot. A few years ago, we were easily impressed by the robot’s ability to walk and avoid obstacles without (systematically) falling. At the time Atlas could only work connected to an imposing forest of cables.
But little by little Boston Dynamics managed to integrate everything into the device, including a battery. And cables have been history for several years now. And in the latest video from the firm, we discover how agile and powerful the robot has become. While giving a first credible illustration of how Atlas could quickly end up on construction sites.
The Atlas robot does impressive stunts in Boston Dynamics’ latest video
The 1 minute 21 video indeed shows the interaction between the robot and a worker perched on a scaffolding. The worker throws “I forgot my tools again” then takes a tablet from his pocket. The tablet then launches a series of actions carried out by the robot, remotely. The robot begins by grabbing a board and moving it (by making a jump with half rotation, the board between the “hands”).
Then he lays the plank so as to create a ramp allowing him to climb onto the scaffolding, all very quickly and relatively precisely. Atlas then seizes the worker’s tool kit, then climbs on this ramp made up of blocks of various sizes and therefore this board serving as a precarious gateway to the scaffolding.
A formality for the robot which even allows itself to climb to the next level of the scaffolding with a jump. Then the robot accurately throws the tool kit to the last level of the scaffolding where the human worker is. Finally, the highlight of the show, Atlas drops a block below, then jumps on it before returning to the ground after an astonishing acrobatic jump.
A manager of the Robin Diets project, explains that this jump required “all the force available in practically all the junctions of the robot. This trick is at the limit of what Atlas can do”. Of course this is a prepared demo and for the time being Atlas could not perform all these tasks without it. However, we see that Boston Dynamics has more and more confidence in its technology.
Placements of objects and obstacles no longer need to be as precise as before. And everything seems to indicate that the firm has never been so close to a successful humanoid robot, ready for marketing.
I am a journalist with over 6 years of experience working in the news industry. I currently work as an author for Global Happenings, and my coverage focuses on Technology news. I have written for various publications, including Reuters, The New York Times and The Guardian.
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