Atlas robot’s latest advances are truly mind-boggling

Little by little, Boston Dynamics is getting closer to a truly convincing Atlas humanoid robot. A few years ago, we were easily impressed by the robot’s ability to walk and avoid obstacles without (systematic) falls. At that time, Atlas could only work when connected to an impressive forest of cables.

But little by little, Boston Dynamics managed to integrate everything into the device, including the battery. And cables have been history for several years. And in the latest video from the company, we find out how agile and powerful the robot has become. Giving the first credible illustration of how Atlas can quickly find itself on construction sites.

Atlas robot performs impressive stunts in latest Boston Dynamics video

The 1 minute 21 video actually shows the interaction between the robot and the worker sitting on the scaffolding. The worker launches “I forgot my tools again” and pulls out a tablet from his pocket. The tablet then launches a series of actions performed by the robot remotely. The robot starts by grabbing the board and moving it around (jumping with a half turn, the board between the “arms”).

Then he lays the board down to form a ramp that allows him to climb the scaffolding, all very quickly and relatively accurately. Atlas then grabs the worker’s toolbox, then climbs this ramp of blocks of various sizes, and hence this plank serves as an unreliable gateway to the scaffolding.

A formality for a robot that even allows itself to jump up to the next level of scaffolding. The robot then carefully tosses the set of tools to the last level of the scaffolding where the human worker is. Finally, the climax of the show, Atlas drops the block below, then jumps on it before returning to the ground after an amazing acrobatic jump.

Project manager Robin Dietz explains that this jump required “all the power available in almost all of the robot’s joints. This trick is the limit of what Atlas can do.” Of course, this is a prepared demonstration, without which Atlas cannot perform all these tasks yet. However, we see that Boston Dynamics has more and more confidence in its technology.

Placement of objects and obstacles should no longer be as accurate as before. And everything seems to indicate that the firm has never been so close to a successful marketing-ready humanoid robot.

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