Boston Dynamics recently revealed a video showing its bipedal humanoid Atlas robot actually doing parkour. The Massachusetts tech team has been working on robots for years, consistently making advancements that give them the power to do previously unthinkable things like backflip, open doors, wash dishes, run on trails and lift boxes. While many are impressed, others worry that these could be the very robots that will eventually threaten humankind’s safety.
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In the video, which can be viewed below, Atlas is seen running and jumping over an obstacle before scaling a series of boxes. As it bounds up the multi-layered platform, Atlas is able to shift its weight effortlessly. This clip is mesmerizing and almost seems fake. Viewers who weren’t terrified feel there needs to be a show, similar to Ninja Warrior, where these kinds of robots compete in front of a stadium full of cheering fans. Maybe one day…
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Boston Dynamics started developing these super active robots at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company was founded in 1992 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group. On their website, they say, “Now we are taking the next step, combining the principles of dynamic control and balance with sophisticated mechanical designs, cutting-edge electronics, and software for perception, navigation, and intelligence.”
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The Agile Anthropomorphic Robot Atlas is the world’s most dynamic humanoid. Boston Dynamics says, “Atlas uses balance and whole-body skills to achieve two-handed mobile manipulation.” The robot’s control system allows movement in its arms, legs and torso while using balance to perform tasks. “Stereo vision, range sensing and other sensors give Atlas the ability to manipulate objects in its environment and to travel on rough terrain.”