Atlas: the humanoid gymnast
Boston Dynamics has released footage of a humanoid robot that can do box jumps and back flips. This is a significant improvement on robot capabilities – despite what years of sci fi movies have suggested, it’s actually really hard to make a bipedal robot walk, climb stairs and just generally keep its balance. That’s why some of the entrants in recent humanoid robot Grand Challenges have looked less human and more like a cross between an orang-utan and a wolf spider.
The new video suggests that for Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, some of these problems have been solved. Last year, Atlas demonstrated that it can already go for a nice hike in the woods, and now it looks like it’s ready for the gym too.
The timing of this video may have been a bit too on point, given that this week, the UN met to discuss how worried the world should be about killer robots.
Unsurprisingly, many have greeted Atlas’ new powers with premature surrender to our robot overlords. “I could do without the grandstanding, future destroyer of worlds,” wrote Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch.