Boston Dynamics’ latest Atlas robot sure has some (creepy) moves


Boston Dynamics

Just a day after announcing the retirement of its hydraulic humanoid robot Atlas, Boston Dynamics has revealed a new version of its bipedal robot — a fully electric version designed specifically for real-world applications. 

In a video showcasing the new version, which is still named Atlas but looks very different from the previous generation, a robot lies on the ground. After spinning its legs around 270 degrees, the robot rises to its feet, pivots its head and body around 180 degrees, and walks away. It’s all a bit creepy.

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The new Atlas has no exposed wires or cables, a more human-like head and body design where the head is a large ring light, and an overall much sleeker feel. Movement is still a bit clunky, but significantly smoother and quieter than its predecessor.

Boston Dynamics said the new Atlas is not only stronger and more agile, but also has a wider range of motion than any previous generation. While the previous Atlas could lift and maneuver heavy objects, the retooled Atlas takes those capabilities and adds a number of grip variations for different environments.

Despite the humanoid form factor, the new Atlas will be able to move in the most efficient way possible, without the physical limitations of the human body, according to its creators. “Atlas will move in ways that exceed human capabilities,” Boston Dynamics wrote, adding that the company was confident the robot would be able to take on the most boring, dangerous, and dirty tasks.

The company acknowledged that the robot’s physical capabilities are only a small part of making something successful for commercial use. In addition, companies need a robust IT structure, safety standards, buy-in from employees, and operational processes. “We believe that humanoids will be most effective,” the company wrote in a press release, “if they are deployed with in-depth models of a facility and lots and lots of data about how it operates.”

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