You've seen plenty of videos floating around the internet from Boston Dynamics. From weird dog-like robots slipping on banana peels, to humanoids being hit with hockey sticks, to, more recently, their robots dancing along to Do You Love Me? Well they're back at it again and this time, Atlas has mastered parkour.
But why this? Nobody's buying a robot because it can do parkour (in fact, Atlas isn't a product, it's a research platform), so what's the point? Well in the words of Scott Kuindersma, Atlas Team Lead:
Ultimately, pushing the limits on a humanoid robot like Atlas drives hardware and software innovation that translates to all of our robots at Boston Dynamics.
The goal is to allow robots to traverse their surroundings with the same dexterity as humans. We have evolved incredible balance and control, so attempting to design a machine that matches that takes incredible engineering.
The Atlas team wrote a great blog post about the whole project, highlighting both the challenges they faced and the moments of excitement throughout the process.
terrifying cool as Atlas' new skills are, what's almost as interesting is the people behind the controls, or in this case the code. Because along with the video showcasing the humanoid robot's parkour abilities, Boston Dynamics released another video which goes behind the scenes of teaching robots new tricks. We meet some of the engineers working on the project, see what they work on, and watch a few failures of Atlas, mechanical and otherwise.