Advertisement

Blog

Atlas Robot Wows

Chances are you may have already seen the new Agile Anthropomorphic Robot (Atlas) demonstration video since its already gotten over two million views in two days. For prospective, Atlas is the robot that the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) gives away to contestants too poor to build their own in its Grand Challenges. Atlas is also used by the U.S. Army, the Navy and the Marines–its a tough dude.

One thing you may not know, is that Boston Dynamics was acquired by Google in 2013, hence they no longer pitch the press or even describe their newest innovations, but merely make YouTube videos about their results and refuse repeated requests for interviews.

Video link: https://youtu.be/rVlhMGQgDkY


(Source: Boston Dynamics)

What we do know is that the newest version of Atlas is a little less ominous at just five foot nine inch tall and 180 pounds–hefty for that height. Atlas can now operate indoors or outdoors, as demonstrated in the video where it slips and slides, but does not fall, on snowy unlevel ground. As usual it carries its own battery, but powers its manipulators with hydraulic actuators, making it plenty strong. It also has a new trick–it can get up if it falls (or is knocked over on purpose by a mean human with a hockey stick in the video).

Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensors in its body and legs send orientation information to its processor which keeps it balanced. And it uses a range-mapping infrared laser-powered Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) system to sense obstacles, keep an eye out for potholes and generally manage its navigation and manipulation abilities. According to IEEE Spectrum, 3-D printing–an approach being used by other robot makers–was used to embed the hydraulic pathways and servo valves are inside the legs instead of adding them on with expensive components, thus lowering its cost (or increasing Google's margins–we could not find out which since the sales department is also not answering queries).

Boston Dynamics classic Atlas is a super-strong military-grade robot unlike the consumer trends toward co-robots that less intimidating and which can be safely cooperate and work alongside people without hurting them.
URL: http://www.bostondynamics.com/img/Atlas-x3c.lr.jpg
(Source: Boston Dynamics)

Boston Dynamics classic Atlas is a super-strong military-grade robot unlike the consumer trends toward co-robots that less intimidating and which can be safely cooperate and work alongside people without hurting them. URL: http://www.bostondynamics.com/img/Atlas-x3c.lr.jpg
(Source: Boston Dynamics)

Apparently, Google–and its new parent Alphabet–are allowing Boston Dynamics to further develop the dexterity, weight-to-strength ratio and cost-lowering strategies of 3-D printing on their own. As far as what Google has in mind for applications of Atlas and its other four-legged brethren, such as BigDog which refuses to be pushed over even by mean humans, remains to be seen since Google is mum.

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EE Times.

1 comment on “Atlas Robot Wows

  1. cara1234
    June 8, 2016

    The video is mind blowing I was just saw it. It hit me very strongly and deep inside I want to have this kind of concept in my new auto. I like your approach towards tech. It will really help me. Thanks a Ton !!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.