It’s impressive when a robot can do things that a human can do. It’s even more impressive when a robot can do things a human can’t do. Or, at least, things I can’t do.
About a year ago, Robotics company Boston Dynamics developed Atlas, a prototype robot designed to showcase their advanced software-to-hardware management system. In its previous incarnation, Atlas was capable of keeping its balance on an icy surface, as well as performing nearly flawless backflips.
Now, Atlas has obtained an upgrade, and its movement capabilities only continue to grow. Atlas is now capable of simple free-running. Yes, that’s right, Boston Dynamics has a parkour robot.
With quick, calculated strides that look almost eerily humanoid, Atlas is capable of jumping over logs, running across footholds, and jogging up a series of wide boxes with speed and precision that rivals most human athletes. Atlas has also taken a page out of ‘The Karate Kid,’ able to stand on one leg on a small foothold using only its arms to balance.
With Atlas alongside the Spot quadruped robot, Boston Dynamics is rapidly advancing the field of robotic mobility.