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Boston Dynamics Atlas Robot Seen Doing Parkour Freakishly Well

Up until recently, Boston Dynamics’ work with robots was simply scary, because their creations could only chase you down the street or something.
Robot doing a bit of parkour 4 photos
Boston Dynamics AtlasBoston Dynamics AtlasBoston Dynamics Atlas
Scary became terrifying when robots were taught to open doors and follow their pray up and down the stairs. And now, in a horrifying twist, not even rooftops can save us, as Boston’s robots are learning parkour.

On Thursday, Boston Dynamics published a clip showing its most prominent of machines, the Atlas, doing a little bit of parkour.

Granted, the clip is very short and there’s not much to look at. But it does feature a robot jumping over a log, with uncanny human-like moves, and then climbing on a series of 40 cm high offset steps (16 inches) with unsettling extreme sports abilities.

And it does all this without breaking its pace, or any sweat, for that matter.

“Atlas does parkour” says Boston Dynamics. ”The control software uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace. “

And don’t imagine the robot will be some sort of candid butler of the future. Boston Dynamics is working on it with funding and guidance from DARPA, so some type of military use for it is not so far fetched, despite DARPA officially calling it a disaster response robot.

The bipedal machine is 1.5 meters high (5 feet) and weighs 75 kg. It’s powered by a battery, it’s members move by means of hydraulics, and its understanding of the environment is made possible by using LIDAR, stereo vision cameras, range sensing and other sensors.

But the Atlas is not the only robot Boston Dynamics is working on. They also build the SpotMini, which they recently taught to open doors and run up and down the stairs, or the BigDog, which was the first ever legged robot to be tested in the real world.


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