Technology
Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

New electric Atlas robot from Boston Dynamics – Video

A day after Boston Dynamics announced it would discontinue production of its hydraulic Atlas robot, it unveiled an all-electric model, showing that the company's work on human-shaped robots is not complete. The new Atlas was designed for search and rescue missions, and the company claims that this latest model is designed for real-world applications. Boston Dynamics describes Atlas as “the world's most dynamic human-shaped robot,” and the robot looks pretty agile indeed.

In the promotional video, Atlas pushes himself into an upright position by turning on his feet from a lying position on the ground. The robot then rotates its head and then its body 180 degrees. Although the rotations of the legs and other parts of the body are a bit frightening, they present an impressive display of balance and flexibility.

Atlas' new design and features

The electric Atlas has a more elegant appearance than its predecessor, with a faceless head that resembles a ring light rather than a structure that resembles a person wearing an exosuit. Boston Dynamics says parent company Hyundai's automotive manufacturing technologies are “the perfect proving ground” to test new applications of the Atlas. The company plans to demonstrate what the robot can really do over the coming months and years, putting Atlas through rigorous testing, first with a small group of partners.

Atlas is working on new handle systems to be suitable for commercial needs. These studies build on the previous model's ability to lift and carry heavy and irregular objects with parkour capabilities. They claim that the New Atlas will be more powerful and that they are confident in commercializing a human-shaped robot.

“While Atlas resembles the human form, we equip the robot to move to complete a task in the most efficient way, without being limited by the human range of motion,” writes Boston Dynamics. “Atlas will move in ways that exceed human capabilities. “With decades of practical experience and our ability to think from principles, we are confident in delivering a unique robot that can take on tedious, dirty and dangerous tasks in real applications.”

Atlas' impressive capabilities may take it to a point where we can see it in workplaces and perhaps at home. But first, you can expect to see videos of the electric Atlas showing off some stylish dance moves. While Boston Dynamics isn't the only company that's been working in this field for more than a decade, it may be the best positioned to bring a human-shaped robot to market.

Danish Kapoor