Atlas, Boston Dynamics’ humanoid research platform, is all scratched up after some parkour practice. [credit:
Boston Dynamics ]
New Boston Dynamics video alert!
The robot developer and YouTube sensation is giving us another peek at its robot-building efforts, this time by having its humanoid robotics research platform, Atlas, do some more parkour. Besides releasing a highly polished video, the company also posted a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get a robot to jump through an obstacle course. It’s the best look at Atlas we’ve gotten yet and shows incredible footage of manufacturing, software, and repairs—plus some gnarly wipeouts when the stunts don’t go according to plan.
This is the third video we’ve seen of Atlas doing parkour, and you might wonder why Boston Dynamics is so obsessed with making its robots jump on boxes and do backflips. Atlas does parkour for the same reason car companies do motorsports. Using sports to push the performance boundaries of a machine leads to the development of better parts and techniques, and the tests have a trickle-down effect for consumer products. Just as motorsport has led to the creation of all-wheel drive, disc brakes, and tons of safety features for production cars, teaching Atlas to do backflips will hopefully result in better robots from Boston Dynamics.