Recently, Boston Dynamics, a famous American quadruped and bipedal robotics company, released a new video on YouTube in which its bipedal humanoid robot Atlas shows off its parkour skills, demonstrating a series of movements including crossing a log bridge, jumping a box, walking a ramp, supporting a hurdle, back-flipping down a step, etc. After the movements are over, the two robots shake their shoulders and raise their arms in celebration.
At the end of the action, the two robots also shake their shoulders and vibrate their arms in celebration, and their precise movements and coordinated pacing can’t help but make netizens sigh: “Too much like a human, the Valley of Terror effect is here!”
In the video, the two Atlas robots, after passing through the one-way bridge and many slanting boards, one left and one right, respectively, use the box jumping and support hurdles to ascend to the high platform, and then synchronously return to the ground with two backflips like a double diving. After completing the action, one of the two robots dusted his shoulders and the other raised his arms in celebration, looking so cute.
The Altas in the video is about 5 feet (1.52m) tall, weighs about 190 pounds (86kg), and uses a lot of 3D printed lightweight materials. atlas is powered by batteries and has hydraulic presses on 28 joints, allowing it to move at 1.5m/s (5.4km/h). As for sensing and control, Atlas is equipped with RGB cameras and depth-of-field sensors, and uses its configuration of three computers for real-time processing.
So why choose parkour action as the theme of this technology demonstration? “Parkour focuses on a few aspects that we think are important to examine, so it’s a useful organizational movement for our team,” said Scott Kuindersma, Atlas project lead.
“We needed to connect perception with movement so that it could accomplish both long-term goals like getting from point A to point B and short-term, dynamic goals like adjusting gait and making strength corrections.” The Boston company revealed that the Altas robot, which has the average level of locomotion and dexterity of an adult, has “limitless” use cases and performance.
Notably, the sequence of movements demonstrated by Atlas is not pre-programmed by engineers. the control strategy of Altas is divided into three main blocks: behavior library, real-time perception and modeling prediction.
To mimic human muscle memory, Altas developers have built a rich template of behaviors through trajectory optimization, which then efficiently and reliably uses known actions to complete tasks; through sensors and cameras, Atlas is able to generate point clouds of the environment in real time, using powerful computing power for data analysis; in addition, Atlas uses the robot’s own dynamic model to predict how its actions should evolve and adapt.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that these seemingly perfect parkour moves are done without a hitch. “There were times when Altas was very frustrating for us. The robot was down a lot,” said Benjamin Stephens, head of control direction for the Altas team.” But we learned a lot about how to build a robot that can fall headfirst and survive and get up and do it again; we also learned a lot about behavior, control, and a bunch of other things that need to be done step-by-step. ”
Atlas first came to the forefront in July 2013. A multifunctional robotics research platform for search and rescue, the Atlas project is funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The older generation of Atlas was adapted from Boston Dynamics’ PETMAN robot, which still required external equipment for power and computing capabilities.
In February 2016, a new version of Atlas was introduced with true indoor and outdoor multi-scene mobility. Over the next few years, videos of the Atlas robot wowed the public time and time again: from box jumps, 180-degree aerial spins and back flips, to running on grass and rough terrain, to “bullying” videos of researchers interfering with Atlas’ ability to carry boxes and even violently pushing Atlas down and getting up on its own. videos. To the recent robot parkour video, people have to feel: the robot’s response is not only anthropomorphic, has been and even beyond.
Boston Dynamics has changed hands several times, but has always been a leader in the field of quadrupedal and bipedal robots. 1992, Boston Dynamics was spun off from MIT and was acquired by Google parent company Alphabet in 2013, and later in June 2017 right by SoftBank on undisclosed terms.
In June of this year, Hyundai acquired Boston Dynamics for $1.1 billion. Its most commercially successful product, Spot, a quadrupedal dog-like robot, has received orders from SpaceX, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and others.
It is believed that the quadrupedal, anthropomorphic robotics industry will not stop at its current achievements to create more efficient and accurate products suitable for various application scenarios and loads. This is of great significance for search and rescue, military operations, environmental monitoring, handling nuclear chemical accidents, etc.