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Boston Dynamics now lets Atlas robots work instead of dance – t3n – digital pioneers

Atlas robot tool case

Atlas robot strides across the construction site with a tool box. (Screenshot: Boston Dynamics)

So far, Boston Dynamics’ humanoid Atlas robot has amazed us with its ability to dance or master an obstacle course. Now the robot has to work – and it does it in an impressive way, as a video shows.

No more funny! Boston Dynamics robot Atlas has been able to show what he can do when dancing or overcoming an obstacle course over the past few months. But now the seriousness of life begins.




Atlas does his job at a construction site

In a new video Atlas shows up in a simulated construction site environment. There, the humanoid robot first has to build a path in order to be able to fulfill its task of handing over a tool bag to a construction worker.

He then makes his way to a scaffolding in the tried-and-tested parcours manner over wooden panels and crates. The construction worker is waiting for one of these. Atlas identifies him and throws the bag up at him with pinpoint accuracy.




Complicated somersault and leap of joy

He then clears an obstacle out of the way and finally removes himself from the scaffolding with a twisted somersault. With a visibly pleased move at having completed the challenge.

In order to be able to complete the task, the developers at Boston Dynamics screwed a gripper with two fingers onto each of the robot’s arms.

As shown in the tool case, it can also pick up heavy objects and move them to specific locations. Also by throwing, as can be seen.




Boston Dynamics: Cameras and Control Programs

In order to be able to recognize and react to objects such as a box, the board or steps, Atlas uses a color camera and a depth camera. In addition, the handling of various objects and complicated movements were tested and simulated in advance.




New Skills: Atlas needs to adjust posture

For the new abilities, i.e. picking up, carrying around and throwing objects, the developers also had to ensure that the robot adapted its posture in each case. This is to prevent him from losing his balance and falling.

According to the developers, the 540-degree backflip currently represents the limit of what Atlas can physically do, how heise.de writes. This complex combination of movements was particularly difficult to program.




Use on a real construction site is still a long way off

According to Boston Dynamics, however, Atlas is unlikely to perform such somersaults on a real construction site. Rather, the new video demonstrates what the team is currently working on.

Robots in action: Eight exciting tech helpers in action

It will be a long time before Atlas or a similar humanoid robot can work on a real construction site.

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