October 11, 2018
Boston Dynamics’ Atlas humanoid robot can do a lot of things I can’t, including backflips and running through snow without falling on its face. Now add parkour to that list of feats.
Yes, that parkour. In a new video, you can see Atlas bounding up a multi-layered platform, shifting its weight from its right foot to its left foot, and back to the right foot as it runs up the steps. Like Atlas’ previous athletic achievements, the maneuver is hypnotizing.
And for good reason. Atlas continues to bound through the uncanny valley, not to put humans in our place, but to get humanoid robots to a level where they can walk and, sure, sometimes do backflips among us. We’ve built this world for humans, after all, so in theory robots that look and move like us will be best equipped to manage that world.
Which is not to say other robotic form factors won’t have a place too. Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini quadruped
robot pulls off stunning maneuvers on four legs. That makes it more stable, for one. Other robots crawl on six legs. There’s no such thing as one “correct” form factor, which is part of what makes the robotic future so intriguing.
But if you were looking for a robot to parkour with you, today is your day.
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