The two-legged machine could barely walk when it first appeared. In 2017, she already did parkour and backflips. A year later, Atlas was running, jumping over logs, and jumping from one 40-centimeter step to another, using his legs, arms, and torso to propel his jumps and to balance. In 2019, he switched to full gymnastics. In 2020, he danced in sync. In 2021, he already practiced parkour in a duo.
As with some of Boston Dynamics’ other robots, there have long been questions about the practical applications of the Atlas. The answer is in a recent demonstration video from Boston Dynamics, in which the new grippers, first seen in a Super Bowl commercial, allow a robot to assist a worker on a scaffold in a staged situation.
It’s amazing to watch Atlas pick up a plank and use it to create a footbridge, then move around the scaffolding while carrying a tool bag. The robot is also able to throw a bag to an employee with a pirouette jump, ending its display with a 540-degree multi-axis somersault that project engineers have dubbed the “Sick Trick”, which is far more advanced than the parkour we know from earlier Atlas movies .
We probably shouldn’t worry about entire construction sites filled with Atlas robots just yet: they still make plenty of mistakes that we won’t see in promotional videos. Ben Stephens, Atlas Controls Manager, he saidthat scientists are still “far away” from creating humanoid robots that can actually perform dirty and dangerous jobs.
Boston Dynamics currently only sells two robot models: the Stretch, which is used in warehouses to move boxes, and the Spot, which is used for a variety of tasks, including surveillance and site mapping. It seems that Atlas is also starting to look for a career path. Fortunately, Boston Dynamics had previously asked people not to use their robots as weapons…