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With the onslaught of humanoids that were introduced in 2023, it seems Atlas, the humanoid that set the stage for so much of today’s humanoid progression, has fallen out of the limelight. But on its YouTube channel today, Boston Dynamics said not so fast.
Boston Dynamics released a video showing its Atlas humanoid picking and placing automotive struts. The significance of the demo is that Atlas performs all of the object recognition using the robot’s onboard sensors. Atlas acquires the automotive struts, using its grippers from a vertical storage unit, and places them horizontally onto a flow cart.
As the humanoid race heats up, humanoids from Agility Robotics, Apptronik, Figure and others are getting closer to finding work in the real world. Agility’s Digit is being tested by Amazon and GXO Logistics. And Figure recently signed a deal with BMW to explore what humanoids can do at the automaker’s manufacturing facility in South Carolina. Many of the other humanoid robot companies are releasing videos of their robots as they evolve and become more capable.
The team from Boston Dynamics decided to show the capabilities of Atlas in a real-world application, as Boston Dynamics’ chief strategy officer Marc Theermann and VP of marketing and communication Nikolas Noel communicated in the screenshot below.
The Atlas humanoid has already wowed the world with its ability to perform dynamic parkour feats. And we saw it working at a mock construction site in 2023. However, Atlas remains a development platform due in part to its hydraulic actuation design and the robot isn’t ready to go to work in the real world just yet. However, this demo illustrates Atlas and other humanoids can perform difficult manipulation tasks, including manipulating heavy objects when properly equipped.
The fact that Boston Dynamics continues to invest in the development of Atlas helps to raise the bar for humanoids and, hopefully, hints at commercializing some form of Atlas in the future.