Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot can now grab and throw items

Atlas, the humanoid robot the is being developed by Boston Dynamics, has learned even more astonishing new skills. The robot manufacturing company published a film titled “Atlas Gets a Grip,” in which the parkour expert demonstrated its problem-solving abilities. In it, the robot easily maneuvers around a mock-up building site and even throws a bag of tools to a worker atop some scaffolding. After successfully executing his mission Atlas performed a backflip with a twist. This latest stunt is meant to demonstrate not only its moves, but also how Atlas can actually be helpful in real life situations.

“We’re not just thinking about how to make the robot move dynamically through its environment, like we did in Parkour and Dance,” Boston Dynamics’ team lead on Atlas, Scott Kuindersma said, referring to previous videos featuring Atlas the company had released over the years.

“Now, we’re starting to put Atlas to work and think about how the robot should be able to perceive and manipulate objects in its environment,” he added and explained that upright-standing robots could do well in manufacturing, factory, and construction settings — “spaces that were traditionally designed for humans to do work in.”

But they’re still “long way off” from having humanoid robots that can replace manual labor and potentially hazardous tasks, as Atlas controls lead Ben Stephens acknowledged in a press release.

“Manipulation is a broad category, and we still have a lot of work to do,” he says. “But this gives a sneak peek at where the field is going. This is the future of robotics.”

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