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Boston Dynamics, a robotics design company, has now added parkour skills to its popular and advanced humanoid robot, named Atlas. Parkour is a training discipline that involves using movement developed by the military obstacle course training. The company posted a video on YouTube yesterday that shows Atlas jumping over a log, climbing and leaping up staggered tall boxes mimicking a parkour runner in the military.

“The control software (in Atlas) uses the whole body including legs, arms, and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace.  (Step height 40 cm.) Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately”, mentioned Boston Dynamics in yesterday’s video.

Atlas Parkour 

The original version of Atlas was made public, back in 2013, and was created for the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It quickly became famous for its control system. This advanced control system robot coordinates the motion of its arms, torso, and legs to achieve whole-body mobile manipulation.

Boston Dynamics then unveiled the next generation of its Atlas robot, back in 2016. This next-gen electrically powered and hydraulically actuated Atlas Robot was capable of walking on the snow, picking up boxes, and getting up by itself after a fall. It was designed mainly to operate outdoors and inside buildings.

Atlas, the next-generation

Atlas consists of sensors embedded in its body and legs to balance. It also comprises LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head. This helps it avoid obstacles, assess the terrain well and also help it with navigation.

Boston Dynamics has a variety of other robots such as Handle, SpotMini, Spot, LS3, WildCat, BigDog, SandFlea, and Rhex. These robots are capable of performing actions that range from doing backflips, opening (and holding) doors, washing the dishes, trail running, and lifting boxes among others.

For more information, check out the official Boston Dynamics Website.

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Tech writer at the Packt Hub. Dreamer, book nerd, lover of scented candles, karaoke, and Gilmore Girls.