The robot revolution is coming, and the next step in their progress is… gymnastics?
Robotics designers Boston Dynamics have just put out a video detailing their flagship humanoid robot, Atlas, doing a full gymnastics routine that would put the agility of most people to shame. As one commenter pointed out, when the robot apocalypse comes, “it’s nice to know they’ll kill us with the grace of a ballet dancer.”
Atlas first launched in 2013, in cooperation with DARPA, originally intended intended for search and rescue operations in disaster situations. Atlas has been through many revisions that have taken it from being barely able to walk – which DARPA program manager Gill Pratt, at the time described as being like a “1-year old child” – to today’s video where it seems so natural that some in the comments were doubting their eyes.
Boston Dynamics has gone viral over and over again with their videos of military-grade robots doing incredibly mundane things over and over again, like, you know, walking.
As silly as it might seem that videos of robots walking and being kicked over went viral; it’s really cool to look back at these videos and see just how far robotics has come over the past decade. From being constrained to wheels and linear controls that were barely more complex than the various robotic toys you had as a kid, the way these robots move now looks strikingly more natural and fluent. It might not seem like much, but getting robots to walk like any natural creature is a huge challenge because the way we process and adapt to the terrain we move on, as well as manipulating our entire body to do so, isn’t super easy to program;
Who knows how long it is before robots like these are able to reliably take over on ordinary tasks, but the implications could be massive; and with Boston Dynamics having just officially launched sales for their worksite-assistant robot “Spot” alongside their Atlas video, it could be closer than you think.
It’s insane to think that the term “robot” was first invented just less than 100 years ago, and now we’ve got robotics companies all around the world working on similar projects, and robots themselves doing gymnastics. Hopefully it all goes a little better than this Boston Dynamics parody;