Boston Dynamics unveils ‘creepy’ new fully electric humanoid robot

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Boston Dynamics unveils new ‘dynamic’ humanoid robot
A new video released by Boston Dynamics introduces their latest humanoid robot, Atlas, as their first fully electric model. In the video, Atlas flips its legs over its metallic body to stand at full height, showing off its dynamic range in movement – Apr 18, 2024

To many, the sight is a combination of mind-blowing and nightmarish: a humanoid robot, laying on the floor, before it flips its legs over its metallic body to stand at full height.

In a new video released by Boston Dynamics on Wednesday, the company — famous for its nightmare-fuel videos showcasing robots on obstacle courses and dancing, or robot dogs racing through a forest — unveiled its latest robot, called Atlas.

Atlas, which is “designed for real-world applications,” is the freshest iteration of the company’s humanoid robots and is their first fully electric model. Prior to this model, an earlier version of Atlas was hydraulic-powered.

In their social media post, Boston Dynamics seemingly took aim at Tesla’s own humanoid robot announcement from 2021, when the Elon Musk unveiled the product using an actor breakdancing in a white morphsuit.

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“We promise this is not a person in a bodysuit,” Boston Dynamics wrote on X.

“In the months and years ahead, we’re excited to show what the world’s most dynamic humanoid robot can really do — in the lab, in the factory, and in our lives,” Boston Dynamics wrote in a blog post.

“The electric version of Atlas will be stronger, with a broader range of motion than any of our previous generations,” the company boasted.

Where the hydraulic Atlas could lift and maneuver heavy or irregularly shaped objects, the fully electric Atlas will do the same but with “several new gripper variations to meet a diverse set of expected manipulation needs in customer environments.”

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The new Atlas will also include the latest AI and machine learning tools, including reinforcement learning and computer vision, which will involve Atlas learning from its own actions and rewards.

Hyundai, which owns Boston Dynamics, invested in the fully electric Atlas model and will test the robot’s applications in their automotive manufacturing plants.

Boston Dynamics said the testing is expected to take place “over the next few years.”

This latest Atlas iteration is also more agile than its predecessor and “will move in ways that exceed human capabilities.”

However, the robot’s inhuman movement is the very thing that has left some people unnerved by Atlas.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, Atlas has earned admiration for its impressive engineering feat while also becoming the subject of mockery online.

Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee referenced a meme and wrote Atlas was “giving ‘call an ambulance… but not for me.”

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The hydraulic version of Atlas has been retired.

Boston Dynamics is one of the world’s leading robotics companies, with several of its models functioning in real-world applications. The company’s robot dog, called Spot, has been utilized in hazardous inspections, construction site monitoring and alongside police forces.

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