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posted by janrinok on Saturday November 18 2017, @11:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the fortunately-skynet-isn't-self-aware-yet dept.

Atlas, the hulking humanoid robot from Boston Dynamics, now does backflips.

To be clear: Humanoids aren't supposed to be able to do this. It's extremely difficult to make a bipedal robot that can move effectively, much less kick off a tumbling routine. The beauty of four-legged robots is that they balance easily, both at rest and as they're moving, but bipeds like Atlas have to balance a bulky upper body on just two legs. Accordingly, you could argue that roboticists can better spend their time on non-human forms that are easier to master.

But there's a case to be made for Atlas and the other bipeds like Cassie (which walks more like a bird than a human). We live in a world built for humans, so there may be situations where you want to deploy a robot that works like a human. If you have to explore a contaminated nuclear facility, for instance, you'll want something that can climb stairs and ladders, and turn valves. So a humanoid may be the way to go.

Source: https://techxplore.com/news/2017-11-atlas-robot-backflip.html

Also: https://www.wired.com/story/atlas-robot-does-backflips-now/

takyon: Don't forget the new SpotMini as seen at The Verge, Quartz, and Popular Mechanics. Even Ethanol-fueled couldn't stop it.


Original Submission #1   Original Submission #2

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Robot Dog Pack Fall Frolick 13 comments

MIT Labs has released its pack of 9 robot dogs upon an unsuspecting Killian Court and they are highlighted running, jumping, playing dead, rolling in the leaves, following the leader, kicking around a soccer ball, synchronized flipping, etc.

There's nothing I like more on bright and cold autumnal days than heading down to the park and watching the robot dogs playing in piles of leaves. To hear the scuttle of their little metal legs! To imagine the joy in their tiny silicon brains! Ah, what bliss.

The dogs are the model known as 'Mini Cheetah' but they're more doglike than catlike.

Video

If you've not experienced these delights before, then the video above from MIT's biomimetics lab will give you the basic idea. The bots you can see are the university's Mini Cheetah: a lightweight and modular quadruped that's been under development for years. We saw the Mini Cheetah earlier in 2019 when it learned to backflip, but the biomimetics lab has obviously cranked up production and now has at least nine of these little bots.

Each one weighs about 20 pounds (or nine kilograms), is powered by 12 electrical motors, and can reach speeds of around six miles per hour (or 2.5 meters per second). As you can see in the video, they're all being steered manually using what look like RC controllers.

Previous coverage of the somewhat similar Boston Dynamics SpotMini

When you see them jump out of the concealing leaves together you will know that humanity's time has come to an end.


Original Submission

Nvidia Announces “Moonshot” to Create Embodied Human-Level AI in Robot Form 16 comments

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2024/03/nvidia-announces-moonshot-to-create-embodied-human-level-ai-in-robot-form/

In sci-fi films, the rise of humanlike artificial intelligence often comes hand in hand with a physical platform, such as an android or robot. While the most advanced AI language models so far seem mostly like disembodied voices echoing from an anonymous data center, they might not remain that way for long. Some companies like Google, Figure, Microsoft, Tesla, Boston Dynamics, and others are working toward giving AI models a body. This is called "embodiment," and AI chipmaker Nvidia wants to accelerate the process.

[...] To that end, Nvidia announced Project GR00T, a general-purpose foundation model for humanoid robots. As a type of AI model itself, Nvidia hopes GR00T (which stands for "Generalist Robot 00 Technology" but sounds a lot like a famous Marvel character) will serve as an AI mind for robots, enabling them to learn skills and solve various tasks on the fly. In a tweet, Nvidia researcher Linxi "Jim" Fan called the project "our moonshot to solve embodied AGI in the physical world."

[...] According to Fan, Project GR00T is a cornerstone of his newly founded GEAR Lab (short for "Generalist Embodied Agent Research"). During his time at Nvidia, Fan has specialized in using simulations of physical worlds to train AI models, and now that approach is extending to robotics. "At GEAR, we are building generally capable agents that learn to act skillfully in many worlds, virtual and real," wrote Fan in a tweet. "Join us on the journey to land on the moon."

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:07AM (16 children)

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:07AM (#598792) Homepage

    I am an employee of Boston Dynamics, and the whole backflip thing was basically a final "fuck you" to our management and investors -- but they don't know it yet. The programming is really like any other piece of fluff-without-substance that's an inside joke only to the employees suggesting and implementing it.

    As for SpotMini, we've been unable to fix the very annoying software bug causing it to bark at Black people.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:25AM (12 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:25AM (#598795)

      Are you though... are you really an employee at BD? I'd like to see some "bona fides" as they say in 'the parlance'...

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:47AM (11 children)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:47AM (#598800) Homepage

        I have already revealed much detailed information in several discussions. To be more specific would go into trade-secrets territory, and the company is still alive, though not for long. Google bought us, poached all of the patents and top engineers (who were all White), and only the dregs remain. But we made Atlas backflip, and nobody will ever take that away from us.

        • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @01:01AM (10 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @01:01AM (#598803)

          So you admit to being a dreg.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday November 19 2017, @01:12AM (7 children)

            by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday November 19 2017, @01:12AM (#598805) Homepage

            Okay fine, you want proof, here's your proof. [ibb.co]

            • (Score: 5, Funny) by LoRdTAW on Sunday November 19 2017, @01:57AM

              by LoRdTAW (3755) on Sunday November 19 2017, @01:57AM (#598814) Journal

              I was expecting to see a man with his pants around his ankles sticking his dick in atlas with a sign reading "ethanol-fueled; fuck you"

            • (Score: 5, Insightful) by coolgopher on Sunday November 19 2017, @02:29AM (4 children)

              by coolgopher (1157) on Sunday November 19 2017, @02:29AM (#598821)

              Proof that you can write using a real pen, proof that you have a pile of computer/rc stuff and servo gear, or proof that you did it today?

              Am I missing something that obviously places this photo at Boston Dynamics?

              • (Score: 1, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday November 19 2017, @06:27AM (2 children)

                by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday November 19 2017, @06:27AM (#598859) Homepage

                Yeah, I wrote the timestamp on an authentic Boston Dynamics napkin I stole from the Boston Dynamics Lunchroom.

                • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Whoever on Sunday November 19 2017, @07:13AM (1 child)

                  by Whoever (4524) on Sunday November 19 2017, @07:13AM (#598869) Journal

                  Yeah, I wrote the timestamp on an authentic Boston Dynamics napkin I stole from the Boston Dynamics Lunchroom.

                  BULLSHIT. There is no indication that it is a napkin for the Boston Dynamics lunchroom.

                  You are just a fucking liar. Just a piece of shit who has failed at life and would like to pull other people down to your level of failure.

                  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @05:01PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @05:01PM (#598961)

                    You are just a fucking liar. Just a piece of shit who has failed at life and would like to pull other people down to your level of failure.

                    Stop humanizing Ethanol-fueled. You're making it difficult to troll him.

              • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Monday November 20 2017, @12:45AM

                by LoRdTAW (3755) on Monday November 20 2017, @12:45AM (#599078) Journal

                At this point he's been doing a pretty good job of fucking with us. I honestly don't believe he works there because A) he has claimed he lives in California and B) Boston dynamics is in Massachusetts.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @08:08AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @08:08AM (#598879)

              So you supposedly qualify to work there yet you need to shitpost racist crap on the internet? I feel bad for you.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @06:18AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @06:18AM (#598857)

            Dreg or D'reg? [lspace.org]

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @05:05PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @05:05PM (#598963)

              Dreck

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @03:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @03:54AM (#598831)

      At first it looked like the video was over when the Boston Dynamics credit rolled...but then there were outtakes, ending with a faceplant!

      But, to impress me, Atlas has to win some 500 mile races, and then nail the backflip:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0F440kkFC8 [youtube.com]
      Carl did it for years.

      Any SN readers tried to learn to flip? Here's "5 minute instructions", Ha!
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z7ekwI7oMI [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 2) by EETech1 on Sunday November 19 2017, @05:21PM

      by EETech1 (957) on Sunday November 19 2017, @05:21PM (#598971)

      If the platform that the robot started on was 3 feet higher, would it have stuck the landing without any programming changes?

      Or is it a canned maneuver that results in a flip under these very specific circumstances?

      Cheers!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @07:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @07:24PM (#599015)

      You're way too stupid to work, or ever have worked, at BD in any capacity except maybe as a janitor.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:23AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:23AM (#598794)

    But there's a case to be made for Atlas and the other bipeds like Cassie (which walks more like a bird than a human). We live in a world built for humans, so there may be situations where you want to deploy a robot that works like a human. If you have to explore a contaminated nuclear facility, for instance, you'll want something that can climb stairs and ladders, and turn valves. So a humanoid may be the way to go.

    Or maybe we could build those no-go zones with robots in mind instead?
    I realize that we have a bunch of real-estate and investment where we 'to operate in a human-like fashion is the way to go', but FFS, think ahead, people... does no-one ever look any further than the tip of their nose anymore?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @02:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @02:31AM (#598822)

      There'll always be Jeffries tubes. I mean, you gotta build Jeffries tubes...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:53AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @12:53AM (#598802)

    For everything else, use an octopus. And of course for tiny screws in space, use ants

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @06:52AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @06:52AM (#598864)

      Humanoids are great for certain things, for example climbing and walking along balance beams. It's also a more complicated design and I'm sure that we'll eventually see robots showing up that can walk on either two or 4 legs as appropriate with the ability to swap hands for feet when appropriate.

      But, for most things, a quadriped or other form is going to be more useful.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @04:04AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @04:04AM (#598832)

    "Cassie (which walks more like a bird than a human)"

    That's just sexist. What's wrong with the editors here?

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @04:14AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2017, @04:14AM (#598837)

      Currently undergoing SJW initiation and brain surgery.

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