The Next Generation Atlas Robot Can Stand Up on Its Own


Boston Dynamics gives us Atlas. A robot who can walk its way through snow with the same level of wobbliness as a heavily intoxicated village-drunk. In respect to the village-drunk, I’m not sure shuffling side-ways would be the most efficient way of making it up that hill. Atlas, however, takes a stroll without any accidents ( though I do wonder if there is extra footage in which said robot is obstructed by a tree, and allow for a Laurel and Hardy-esque tone to the video). Jokes aside, Atlas’ agility is quite impressive to modern-day standards. Its posture is that of a disciplined child as it raises its feet comically high with every step it takes, as if part of a soldier corps.

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Its next task is to pick up boxes. Atlas does remarkably well.

It has a bright future in warehouse related work ahead of him as he squats appropriately to ensure not to endure any arthritis or back-ache later on in his career.  After the second, final box is pushed onto the rack, he strikes an OG pose, as if to say, “Check this!”. Deservedly so, for he completes the act without any hiccups.

Atlas by Boston Dynamics

Everyone must be proud of Atlas when you ponder on the engineers, and their remarkable patience and engineering skill it took to get it just right. There he is, minding his own business, about to pick up from the ground another box identical to the ones he shelved in the previous scene. Only now, a bearded man with protective glasses enters the scene, armed with a hockey stick. The bearded man not only smacks the box down but pushes back Atlas to exemplify to the viewer how the humanoid robot can hold his balance.

Atlas by Boston Dynamics

Unphased, Atlas tries again.  The second time the box is hit out of Atlas’ hands there’s a split second in which the robot has this w.t.f moment towards the bearded man (I know I’m imprinting my own emotion onto the robot. Comment below as to what you think.).

Atlas’ final action is quite spell-binding.

The same individual is standing behind Atlas and pushes him with a warehouse tube. He falls headfirst, bearing slight reference to a village-drunk again. He then performs a push-up with his knees tucked in, which produces enough momentum to get to his feet, and straighten up to walk again.

Atlas by Boston Dynamics

Before this feat, engineers had to reset robots every time they fell down.

Fortunately, engineers solved this latest hurdle in robot-design. Perhaps the next obstacle is jumping, or boxing. I’d prefer the latter, and see Atlas defend himself against his bearded aggressor in the next robot-episode.

Atlas at last year's Darpa awards
Atlas, falling over at 2015’s Darpa Robotics Challenge

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