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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.


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  • (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!

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