Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot grabs and throws things now

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot grabs and throws things now

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas prototype puts almost all other bipedal robots to shame (but especially this one). Though not currently available for purchase, the company’s two-legged research and development platform has consistently wowed the internet for years with feats of mobility, coordination, and even TikTok-style choreography. The company’s latest showcase, however, could be its most jaw-dropping demo yet, until Boston Dynamics drops its next video clip, of course.

The brief sequence required a bit of staging, but Atlas’s new “hands” quickly show why the upgrade is a major advance for the robot. What TechCrunch Notes, its two claw-like appendages consist of a fixed and a movable finger designed for “heavy lifting tasks”, something that was shown off quite a bit during the one-minute demo. During that time, Atlas manages to lift a 2×8 wooden beam and place it as a makeshift bridge between two blocks, grab a bag of tools, climb stairs, and traverse gaps. He then tosses his toolkit at a human above him before concluding with an “inverted 540-degree multi-axis roll,” which Boston Dynamics explains “adds asymmetry to the robot’s motion, making it a much better skill.” more difficult than the one done before. Parkour.”

[Related: Tesla’s Optimus humanoid robot can shuffle across stage, ‘raise the roof’.]

Perhaps anticipating skepticism about the authenticity of Atlas’ new moves, Boston Dynamics also released a much deeper behind-the-scenes look at all the work that went into designing and bringing out his new abilities.

Part of Atlas’s computational strength lies in its camera system, which is based on both a visual camera and a depth camera that actually measures the time-of-flight of photons to estimate distances. The robot also uses something called model predictive control, which the developers liken to the human body’s ability to anticipate what it needs to do for upcoming tasks, like having the heart race a bit before standing up from a sitting position.

[Related: Boston Dynamics starts a legal dog fight with competitor Ghost.]

“The robot is doing exactly the same thing,” explains a Boston Dynamics developer. “It’s thinking, ‘How hard do I have to push with my right foot so that, in a second, I don’t fall off?’”

Very good, Atlas. Just give everyone a heads up before you start being able to lift and drop people like that bag of tools.

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