The team at Boston Dynamics is developing humanoid robots and is experimenting with a new parkour robot that can perform vaults, balance beams, and jumps. They are pushing the limits of humanoid robotics to provide new ways to move and see the world around them. They are also experimenting with athletic intelligence.
Performing a backflip
You’ll need to demonstrate various parkour movements to teach the Atlas robot parkour. Parkour is a complex activity that requires the robot to maintain balance in different situations and seamlessly transition between behaviors. Performing a backflip is one such task. The Atlas team has created videos that show the process of teaching the robot parkour, and they’ve refined them over time to demonstrate various movements.
The first part of the routine involves getting the robot to balance on a balance beam. The robot must place an arm on the shaft and lift itself over the structure. This is not a very graceful feat, and it was challenging for Atlas to master this task. Despite this, the robot is now capable of performing backflips.
Atlas uses its legs, head, and body sensors to perceive its physical surroundings. When it detects an obstacle, it pulls a routine from its moves library. These moves come from templates created by trajectory optimization software. These templates are stored in their memory and are updated constantly. This allows the robot to perform a backflip without requiring any human intervention.
To teach the Atlas robot parkour, the engineers used two Atlas robots. One of the robots performed a routine involving a backflip. Boston Dynamics engineers said the robot performed well, but they can still improve a few things.
Getting the Atlas robot to perform parkour is a complicated process. Once it can move freely, it can perform many physical tasks humans do. It could become the basis for the future go-anywhere, do-anything robot.
Jumping over a log
For one thing, Atlas doesn’t seem to have fall detection. We, humans, have an involuntary fall detection system that enables us to stick out our arms and catch ourselves, but this doesn’t seem to exist for Atlas. Whenever Atlas falls, it slams into things without warning.
A robot has been filmed performing parkour moves before. One such video shows a Boston Dynamics robot jumping over a log and leaping up stairs like a parkour runner. The company upgraded Atlas two years ago, and several teams used the robot during the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge. Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself and marshal its energy.
The Atlas robot constantly learns new moves and adapts its behavior to what it sees. Engineers can pre-program jumping motions for only some types of platforms and gaps. Instead, they can create a smaller set of template behaviors, match them to the environment and execute them online. In addition, the controls team uses simulation as a critical development tool to test new behaviors before putting the robot in real-world tests. The simulation also helps ensure that any changes made to the software don’t negatively impact its existing abilities. In addition to software testing, the team also performs hardware testing to ensure that the new movements don’t affect the robot’s performance.
Atlas is also able to complete obstacle courses. In one video, the robot completes an obstacle course, jumping over a log and broad jumping over a log. The robot fails to master the Cha-Ching after the backflip.
Leaping up steps
In a recent video, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot performed parkour tricks. The robot can perform backflips, jump over obstacles, and dynamically shift its weight. Since the robot’s public debut in 2013, it has constantly been upgrading its software, gaining more abilities. Most recently, its developers upgraded its software to help it overcome a 40cm-high obstacle.
The company says Atlas uses its whole body to leap and run over obstacles and has computer vision to target and hit barriers. The robot weighs 75 kilograms and has 28 joints, allowing it to shift its weight to perform jumps. It also uses hydraulic actuation and computer vision to help it navigate its environment.
The Atlas robot’s movements are highly customizable, allowing it to respond to its environment and learn from experience. Instead of pre-programming the robot with specific jumping motions for every gap and platform, the team creates a small set of template behaviors and then matches them to the environment. These behaviors are then executed online. The Atlas robotics team uses simulation as a critical development tool. This way, they can test out new behaviors before sending the robot for a real test. It also allows the team to verify that changes to the software do not affect the robot’s ability to do the task.
Another obstacle Atlas robot encountered was a pumping arm. Although Atlas can perform this move, it stumbled on this simple move. The attention to detail that goes into designing a robotic system is impressive and is one of the reasons that the Atlas robot has become such a futuristic robot.
Vaulting over a bar
Atlas is a robot that can do tricks and jumps like you, but there’s one big problem. It doesn’t seem to have any fall detection system. Humans have a system that helps them detect their falls, and when we fall, we stick our arms out to catch ourselves. Atlas, however, doesn’t seem to have this kind of involuntary fall detection system. This means that when Atlas falls, it slams into something with no warning.
Vaulting over a bar is one of the more difficult moves for an Atlas robot to master. This task requires a strong arm joint and a good sense of balance. While it’s not as graceful as a human, Atlas can vault over a bar with a 50% failure rate. The robot can also do backflips.
Vaulting is a classic parkour maneuver. It requires a person to jump over a bar or obstacle, but the most important thing is to land gently. A soft landing is crucial, so practice small movements before taking the real leap. Make sure to spread your weight evenly and land your chest facing the obstacle.
The engineers of the Boston Dynamics company have given Atlas a high-level map of the parkour course that indicates where to move and which stunts to perform. This map is an approximate course description but contains annotated actions and obstacle navigation templates. Even though these maps are not precise, Atlas can do it. And if you’ve been looking for a robot that can perform parkour, Atlas is the one you’re looking for.
Atlas has made a lot of progress since its first appearance in 2013. The robot is no longer stabilized to prevent it from falling, and now it is performing parkour on its own. Two Atlas robots are shown running, hopping, and flipping over obstacles in a Partners in Parkour video.
Bouncing over a log
Atlas robot is a five-foot, 190-pound robot that can perform parkour sequences. It has an onboard battery, RGB cameras, depth sensors, and three built-in computers. The video shows two Atlas robots running, jumping, and flipping over obstacles.
While Atlas is not a killer robot, he is an impressive example of how a robot can help in search-and-rescue missions. In a 10-year-long project, the team came across a lot of challenges. A blooper reel is included in the video to illustrate some of the robots’ missteps and how they could get back up.
The engineers at Boston Dynamics gave Atlas a map of a parkour course and indicated where it should go and perform certain stunts. While the map is not geometrically precise, it is accurate enough for the robot to navigate. The engineers also used a template system to make Atlas learn various jumps and other parkour moves. The template behaviors are saved in memory and updated constantly.
Boston Dynamics, the company behind door-opening robots and electronic dogs, released a video showing Atlas demonstrating parkour skills. The video shows the robot jumping over a log and running forward. In previous videos, the robot has been shown jogging outside and performing backflips off a platform.