Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot walks around, opens doors, and lifts things in this amazing video. I wish I had more context, but this is still stupendous. Thoughts in no particular order:
- Atlas’ stability on uneven terrain — with snow on the ground no less! — is particularly cool. I envision its stabilizing, balancing, and flexion systems eventually [if not currently] being incorporated into lower limb prostheses to obviate use of a cane, walker, or similar for some people.
- I’m not sure why Boston Dynamics decided to design a humanoid robot, but I applaud them for throwing in some humanoid engineering as well. Most obviously, Atlas swings its arms when it moves. It didn’t have to do that; it could have had tighter shoulder joints, but Boston Dynamics mimicked humanoid design and allowed it to maintain its balance with one of the ways in which people who walk can.
- Atlas pops up almost immediately after being knocked over — recovering just as rapidly, if not faster than, a human. I’m very impressed with its multistage standing, especially the final step, when it pushes itself to its feet using basically just the propulsion from its toes.
- When the person kept knocking the box out of Atlas’ hands and Atlas continued to walk forward, reaching for the box, I was thinking, Don’t piss off the robot!
Filed under mannequins because I sure wish I had one that did that.