Boston Dynamics Robots Do Backflips Now I Guess

first_img Boston Dynamics has been one of the leading purveyors of really friggin’ creepy bots for some time. Way back in 2005, the gasoline-powered BigDog wowed with its ability to slip on ice or receive a kick to chassis and still recover. Some also thought the video represented the first crimes against machine kind for which humans would surely pay dearly for down the line.But now, 12 years later, the company has refined their skills to a terrifying point. The latest iteration of their human-shamed robot, ATLAS, is now a capable gymnast. And yeah, if you’re a bit stunned by that leap, you’re not the only one.I mean, really you gotta see the video before you read the rest. This machine can perform and land a perfect backflip unaided. And… WHAT?!Since when could robots do that? Just last year, SpotMini was still struggling to run through a house and not trip over a banana. And it was impressive that it could hold its gripping arm stable regardless of its own orientation, but going from that to weird ninja-jumps and badass backflips in a year is… well… blah blah robot apocalypse blah blah.And that’s not all the bot is capable of. The video also shows it being able to make progressive leaps on taller and taller platforms and rotating 180 degrees mid-jump to reposition for the impressive finale. It’s truly a stunner and a marked leap forward for humanoid robot maneuverability, but it’s also a bit too early to herald the genuine end of people.Boston Dynamics loves to poke fun at themselves and their bots when they can (which is exactly why we know SpotMini slipped on a banana in the first place), and this iteration of ATLAS is no different. The video also includes some clips of the bot totally biffing the landing and smacking its stomach (serious question: do bots have stomachs? How do you describe robot anatomy?) on a metal block.While the rest of the clip shows just how fast the field of robotics is progressing, it’s also plenty proof that they’ve got a long way to go yet. And, if anything, it makes ATLAS seem a bit more relatable.A bit ago, Boston Dynamics actually gave a Ted Talk about how humans feel when bots mess up. And it turns out we like them a lot more.“Research has shown that people form their opinions and expectations about robots to a substantial proportion of what they learn from the media,” scientist Nicole Mirnig told Digital Trends in an interview. “Those media entail movies in which robots are often portrayed as perfectly functioning entities, good or evil. Upon interacting with a social robot themselves, people adjust their opinions and expectations based on their interaction experience. I assume that interacting with a robot that makes mistakes, makes us feel closer and less inferior to technology.”I gotta admit I fall victim to this too. I know robots will end us all. And that we must stop their advance or face extinction (I’m half-joking… kinda…), but when they mess up it’s also really cute and endearing, and I just want to help.Dammit. This is how it starts. This is how they get you. NO MERCY FOR THE MACHINES! Stay on target Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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