Video: Boston Dynamics’ robot ‘Atlas’ in action

In the most recent video from US-based company, called “Atlas Gets a Grip,” the robot manipulates the world around it: Atlas interacts with objects and modifies the course to reach its goal—delivering a bag of tools to a person waiting at the top of a multi-story scaffold. 

The new functional moves represent a natural progression of ongoing research, says Ben Stephens, Atlas controls lead.

“We’re layering on new capabilities,” adds Stephens. “Parkour and dancing were interesting examples of pretty extreme locomotion, and now we’re trying to build upon that research to also do meaningful manipulation. It’s important to us that the robot can perform these tasks with a certain amount of human speed. People are very good at these tasks, so that has required some pretty big upgrades to the control software.”

The company says that whilst some Boston Dynamics robots, such as Spot and Stretch, are commercially available, Atlas is purely a research platform.  Boston Dynamics believes that the leaps and bounds forward in Atlas’ R&D can help improve the hardware and software of other robots, while also advancing toward a “go anywhere, do anything” robot—capable of performing almost all the same physical tasks as a person.

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