Remember Atlas the Robot? Boston Dynamics incredible bipedal machine, capable of balancing himself and taking jauntily strolls through the woods? Well, he is back, and he is faster, smarter, wireless, and capable of picking up boxes, which is a pretty neat trick for a robot. Atlas also shows the capability to take quite a bit of punishment, as his creators push around, knock over and generally impede Atlas’ progress as he completes different tasks. At one point they even repeatedly knock a box out of the robots hands as it tries to pick them up, so if Atlas goes on a rampage a la, The Terminator, at least we will know he was pretty much justified.
Of course, most of Atlas’ upgrades came from 3D printing. The main goal of the improvements was to make Atlas lighter the founder of Boston Dynamics Marc Railbert explains that “One thing we did was use 3D printing to create the legs, so the actuators and hydraulic lines are embedded in the structure, rather than made out of separate components,” he says. “We also developed custom servo-valves that are significantly smaller and lighter (and work better) than the aerospace versions we had been using.” Boston Dynamics is an offshoot of MIT with Atlas being inspired after the Japanese nuclear disaster in 2011, where robots with the ability to traverse destroyed terrain would have been incredibly useful. You can check out the video below.
Alec. “Boston Dynamics’ Next-gen 3D Printed Atlas Humanoid Robot Endures ‘torture’ Test.” 3ders.org. 3ders.org, 26 Feb. 2016. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.