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Boston Dynamics Shows How Two Atlas Robots Can Now Do Parkour

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Boston Dynamics Shows How Two Atlas Robots Can Now Do Parkour

A robotics company has showed off how its two machines can now do parkour.

Boston Dynamics has shocked people around the world with their Atlas robots' abilities over the years and their latest efforts are nothing short of incredible.

A video uploaded to their social media channels boasts the impressive coordination of the robots as they leap across balance beams, vaults and boards.

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They even celebrate completing the course with a synchronised backflip.

Scott Kuindersma, the Atlas team lead at Boston Dynamics, said while this appears to just be showing off at this point, there is a point in getting the Atlas machines to do parkour.

"From a technical perspective, humanoids present several challenges that we welcome as a research team," he said in a blog post.

Credit: Boston Dynamics
Credit: Boston Dynamics
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"Their combination of size and complexity creates hardware design tradeoffs related to strength to weight ratio, runtime, range of motion, and physical robustness.

"At the same time, our control team has to create algorithms that can reason about the physical complexity of these machines to create a broad set of high energy and coordinated behavior.

"Ultimately, pushing the limits on a humanoid robot like Atlas drives hardware and software innovation that translates to all of our robots at Boston Dynamics."

What's fascinating about this display is that the technicians didn't program the robot to step or jump at particular points like they have with their previous videos.

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Engineers did input a 'smaller number of template behaviors', however what you saw the robots do was pretty much all on them.

Their systems were able to scan the environment, weigh up the challenges and execute accordingly.

Scott explained how when humans do parkour they utilise all the main components of their body, including balance, to get through unscathed.

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Boston Dyanmics' robots have been able to dance and move similarly to humans, however their ability to combine all their technology to master human feats has been limited.

But, they're getting closer to mimicking a human's movements.

Scott said: "It's really about creating behaviors at the limits of the robot's capabilities and getting them all to work together in a flexible control system.

"There are many important problems that parkour doesn't force you to address, but that's not the point.

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We're not trying to solve everything all at once. The work we're doing now is allowing us to create a solid foundation for tackling the next set of research problems."

Oh great. So at least we know robots aren't about to launch a hostile, parkour-related takeover of humanity...yet.

Featured Image Credit: Boston Dynamics/Facebook

Topics: News, Technology

Stewart Perrie
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