The two videos released by Boston Dynamics present their latest bipedal robot, Atlas jumping over gaps, vaulting over beams, and even orchestrating a backflip. The first video is classic Boston Dynamics flash, with two Atlas units performing a spectacular gymnastics routine. It’s incredible how they flip, vault, and almost fall over. On the other hand, the second video provides a reasonably open analysis of Atlas’ capabilities, as the company’s engineers describe how these routines are created.
The Atlas robot, which can also perform backflips and handstands, showed incredible balance while parkouring. The difference is that the robot can now adjust its behavior in response to what it perceives. This development eliminates the need for developers to pre-program jumping motions for any level and gap the robot may encounter. It has evolved into a more self-sufficient athlete. The robot, notably, has a failure probability of roughly 50%, with a minor chance of omission at each level. According to Boston Dynamics, even a fist pump at the finish didn’t go well. The company still has to improve movements that are constrained by the robots’ design, such as the lack of a spine and weak arm joints.
Atlas is putting in some major upper-body work by jumping over the barn in the first video. Because it’s jumping, it’s not sustaining its entire weight with one arm, but it appears to be accomplishing some intricate balancing and weight control with all four of its limbs simultaneously. We can observe that Atlas has been focused on the lower body, and while the robot has used its arms for forwarding rolls and other maneuvers, they’ve been simpler than what we can see now.
Boston Dynamics’ VP of Engineering, Aaron Saunders, announced earlier this year that the Atlas team would be focusing more on upper-body stuff and it appears that they’re doing so now. We can expect Atlas to continue to grow in this area and that it will eventually be able to perform the equivalent of a pull-up, opening a much broader range of behaviors.
Boston Dynamics is also known for its robotic dogs and has successfully indicated how its robot dogs can open doors and navigate downstairs. Commonly referred to as Spot, the robot dogs are being implemented in some police departments to assist on patrol.
Atlas was first revealed to the public in 2013, to be used for search and rescue missions. The robot is around 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and weighs 190 pounds (86 kilograms). It is hydraulically driven with 28 degrees of freedom and is battery-powered.
Written by: Mishaal Muzaffar
Reporter: Imaaz Nadeem