It seems that the tech genre never misses a chance to amaze people. Well, the words really mean now as Atlas, the Hulking humanoid robot from Boston Dynamics is seen doing backflips. Might sound unbelievable, but it’s a hulking humanoid that does backflips and with much ease.
This video below clearly shows a hulking humanoid doing a backflip and also leaping from one platform to another, behaving as if such behavior were becoming a bipedal robot.
Now, the entire fuss about this robot doing a backflip is based on the fact that Humanoids aren’t supposed to be able to do this. It is not really an easy task to make a bipedal robot that can move effectively, much less kick off a tumbling routine. It is easy for a four-legged robot, as they can balance easily, both at rest and as they’re moving, but bipeds like Atlas have to balance a bulky upper body on just two legs. Here, an agreement might arise that roboticists can better spend their time on non-human forms that are easier to master.
But also, there’s a case to be made for Atlas and the other bipeds like Cassie which walks more like a bird than a human. In this human world, situations might arise which demands a robot to be working like a human. For example, while exploring a contaminated nuclear facility, the users would definitely want something that can climb stairs and ladders, and turn valves. So humanoids may be the way to go then.
So for reaching there, there’s no better option than Atlas. Over the years, it’s grown not only more backflippy but lighter and more dextrous and less prone to fall on its face. Even if it does tumble, it can now get back up on its own. So it’s not hard to see a future when Atlas does indeed tread where fleshy humans dare not. Also, the probability now increases more with Boston Dynamics being a part of the Japanese mega-corporation SoftBank, which may have some cash to spend.
Now, while Atlas doing backflips is full-tilt insane, humanoids still struggle. Manipulation, for one, poses a big obstacle, because good luck replicating the human hand. Again, battery life is another nightmare, and of course the thing with all the balancing. But who never knows, maybe one-day humanoids will flip into our lives, or to let the imagination reach greater heights, at the very least at the Olympics.