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The humanoid robot Atlas of the Boston Dynamics just two years ago become successful with the video where it moved its first steps and was struggling to put away a box. It was almost tender, the big boy, that barely was able to keep itself on the metallic legs. However now, just two years later, its movements are basically unrecognizable. It jumps, runs and does blackflips, exactly like a real gymnast.
Boston Dynamics and the birth of Atlas
The american company Boston Dynamics creates since always some between the best robots around, not only humanoid. Atlas is the successor of Petman and, currently, it is spearhead of the company.
In the 2013 Atlas has been presented to the world, with the first one of a serie of video that will tell about its progresses. At the beginning Atlas weighted 150 kg per about 1.80 meters of high. It was realized in aluminium and titanium, with four arms hydraulically operated and enlighted with blue leds, Atlas was able to cushion the bullet strikes and to balance itself on a leg, but its physical performances were still really limitated.
With cadence of few months the Boston Dynamics went on to publish videos where they showed the progresses of the humanoid robot. In the August of the 2017 it touched the world, when awkward it wasn’t able to put a box in a metal shelf.
But the job went on and the technology run really fast. A year later Atlas comes back with a new video. This time it’s visibly less awkward. It jumps from a block to another, to different heights and it is even able to rotate on the place of 180°.
The new Atlas
Let’s arrive, finally, to the last video. This time our awkward robot is really radically changed. Firstly under the external point of view. Six years after its birth the new Atlas is really different. It passed from 1.80 meters of high to 1.50 and from 150 kg to just 80. The humanoid robot has just 28 hydraulic joints that allow it to move with an incredible agility.
But the real revolution can’t be seen with the naked eye. The core of its successes, infact, is the new software. “The advanced control system allows the robot to easily move, while the algorythm manage the dynamics between body and environment, by planning the movements”.
Atlas is now able to run for 1.5 meters per second, to do handstands, blackflips, 360° twirls, jumps, etc. Everything exactly like a real athlete. But those abilities won’t help to win a gold medal, but to reach places inaccessible for every other robot and to help where it would be impossible to arrive.
The software and the movements
While watching the video we reamin without any doubt astonished for the fluidity of the movements of Atlas. Which are unthinkable for a such big robot, especially if we compare it with the videos of two years ago. How is it possible a such amazing and quick improvement?
Should we be worry about an army of humanoid robots that aren’t hurt by the bullets and that are able to move with the same agility of an olympic athlete? Or should we just be amazed about the thecnological progress that run fast?
There is nothing to be worry, no Terminator is arriving, the incredible improvements of Atlas are just up to the new software, as well as the upgrades made to the whole structure. It is a new algorythm that divides the complex movements into smaller ones. After that every action is harmoniously mixed with the next one, so to get an extremely fluid movement.
The algorythm turns so every action in movements replicable by the robot. It is incredible how Atlas is able to harmoniously trundle on its back without touching its instruments. It doesn’t even seem to feel the inertia that would push forward every robot after a jump.
Atlas is without any doubt one of the most evolved humanoid robots in the world and who knows which other wonders it will be able to do with few more years of experience.
This post is also available in: Italiano