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Atlas Robot Displays Construction Skills

After Atlas robots were shown parkouring through a complex obstacle course, jumping over gaps, balancing on narrow beams, and performing backflips in a 2021 video, new footage has now been released by Boston Dynamics showing the humanoid robot manipulating the world around it.

The last time Atlas was seen in a video, the robots did not have hands that could grip objects. However, this time, Atlas is now seen with crab claw-style hands and wrist mobility. In the demonstration, Atlas is placed in a construction worksite environment and is asked to move objects around to get to its end destination. Atlas is seen moving planks to create a bridge, throwing a bag full of two 10-pound (5kg) weights, pushing over a large wooden box, and performing an impressive double flip.

The new capabilities continue to push the limits of locomotion, sensing, and athleticism as Atlas is put to work. The hope is for the new abilities to have real-world applications in fields such as manufacturing, factory work, construction, and disaster response.

Boston Dynamic has been releasing these videos of Atlas doing increasingly more complicated things for years now. However, key questions about the use of these robots in work scenarios are still unanswered.

While these videos are indeed impressive, we suspect that Atlas has been specifically programmed to perform every action and is not doing them intuitively. We also do not know how much ‘run-time’ Atlas would have before needing to be charged again and these issues along with the cost and maintenance of the robot are large obstacles to widespread adoption in our view.


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