But will you fetch me my remote from the coffee table?
Boston Dynamics’ Atlas bot has made several improvements over the yearsfrom gymnastics to Jumping around Obstacle course, but the team doesn’t stop there. In a cool new video, the company showed off a robot prototype moving wood around a construction site, grabbing tools, and even throwing objects.
Instead of just focusing on how to get the robot to move across a room, Boston Dynamics is now working on how Atlas can see, render, and manipulate objects around its environment. And although the construction site in the video is not an actual work site, but a carefully designed environment, it is still very difficult to see it in action.
And while Atlas doesn’t have opposable thumbs, at least not yet, Boston Dynamics has given him “flaps” that work like hands. As a result, we can see Atlas hauling wood to make a ramp, picking up a heavy bag of tools, and even throwing that bag at a worker above. Yes, Atlas can throw things at you!
At the end of the clip, Atlas performs a 540-degree multi-axis flip to Earth, which is pretty impressive. According to the researchers, the added asymmetry of that movement is a much more difficult skill than the parkour moves we’ve seen in previous years.
It is worth noting that Atlas is a research project and is not available for purchase like the company’s “Stretch” bot. Still, watching all the progression and its human-like antics is fun.
Perhaps even more interesting is the Behind the scenes video Team fired. This shows Atlas picking up and balancing the weights, so they don’t fall over, and everything else that went into the fun video and demo above.
Scott Koendersma, Boston Dynamics team leader at Atlas, talks about how “This latest segment is intended to inform an expansion of the research we’re doing on Atlas.” He mentions how all the mistakes, falls, and failures are not shown, but he still shows all the progress that happens behind closed doors.
And while this is a fun video to watch, I’m still waiting for my bipedal robot to take the remote control, make some coffee, and do mundane tasks around the house.