[imagesource: Boston Dynamics]
Boston Dynamics has a knack for simultaneously impressing us and distressing us with their many robot creations doing normal-ish things.
The company’s robot dogs were recently seen doing a nightmarish dance in time with a BTS song, which was sufficiently creepy on its own.
Earlier this week, the robotics firm published another video, which lets us reach a new level of freaked out.
This time the star of the show was Atlas, the name of Boston Dynamics’ humanoid robot, which was seen going skillfully berserk in a parkour gym.
It bounced from obstacle to obstacle with almost Olympic-like levels of finesse, bar the stiffness and slowness, which is at least one way for us to tell that they are not human.
Per Mashable, the company described the achievement of teaching robots to master human behaviour as a watershed moment:
“For the first time today, both Atlas robots have completed the complex obstacle course flawlessly,” a Boston Dynamics announcement reads. “Or, almost flawlessly.”
The Atlas project faced plenty of obstacles in its 10-year journey, just like the robots who learned to jump on difficult surfaces and do backflips without falling:
Parkour is the perfect sandbox for the Atlas team to experiment with new behaviors. Through jumps, balance beams, and vaults, we push Atlas to its limits to discover the next generation of mobility, perception, and athletic intelligence. https://t.co/xZRNVnhrkc pic.twitter.com/E0ssh45ZCi
— Boston Dynamics (@BostonDynamics) August 17, 2021
The mad skill of the parkouring C-3POs are cool and all, but the fails are actually where the real money is at.
The blooper real is more satisfying to watch because we get to see “members of the inorganic race that will most certainly inherit the Earth, fall on their damn faces”:
Boston Dynamics Atlas parkour failures. pic.twitter.com/BaY4Sx9R74
— MachinePix (@MachinePix) August 17, 2021
They fell, but they got back up again and that is really the whole point of the Atlas project, which tests ways of improving robotic abilities overall.
More about how Atlas works:
A high level of physical and mental processing, like shifting balance, is basically subconscious in humans, but not for robots.
Luckily for us, though, their trial and error resulted in some enjoyable tumbles and faceplants.
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