Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot is back. Be very afraid… Atlas can now perform impressive gymnastics routines
Remember Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, the bipedal humanoid robot that can run like a person? The robot can now do a lot more than that. The last time we checked in, Atlas was able to do simple parkours and running around the park performing backflips like a gymnast.
Atlas is a humanoid robot developed by Boston Dynamics. Its advanced control system and state-of-the-art hardware give the robot the power and balance to demonstrate human-level agility. The 6-foot tall robot is designed for a variety of search and rescue tasks and was first unveiled to the public on July 11, 2013.
In May 2018, we also wrote about the newest futuristic robot from BostonDynamics called SpotMini. Back then, the robot was learning how to open doors for his “friends.” SpotMini is back, now it can navigate entire offices by itself. It can even climb stairs.
A lot has changed since we last wrote about Atlas back in 2018. Now, Boston Dynamics has upgraded Atlas to perform something similar to a floor routine in gymnastics. It’s also able to navigate a complicated obstacle course. Atlas uses its whole body — legs, arms, torso — to perform a sequence of dynamic maneuvers that form a gymnastic routine. Unlike the previous version of Atlas, Boston Dynamics claimed that Atlas was trained using “new techniques that streamline the development process.”
According to Boston Dynamics, an optimization algorithm transforms high-level descriptions of each maneuver into dynamically-feasible reference motions. Then Atlas tracks the motions using a model predictive controller that smoothly blends from one maneuver to the next. Using this approach, Boston Dynamics developed the routine significantly faster than previous Atlas routines, with a performance success rate of about 80%.
According to Boston Dynamics, the new Atlas has one of the world’s most compact mobile hydraulic systems. Custom motors, valves, and a compact hydraulic power unit enable Atlas to deliver high power to any of its 28 hydraulic joints for impressive feats of mobility.
In the video below, Atlas is shown performing something similar to a floor routine in gymnastics. Atlas also demonstrates the ability to perform a handstand, somersaults, and rotations all in fluid succession.
In the video below, Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately.
Below is another Video of Atlas from early 2016. It shows the robot picking up and carrying boxes, even while being kicked by a human.