New films from Boston Dynamics show the bipedal Atlas robot flipping, vaulting and falling.

Darren Jackson

In two new films, Boston Dynamics shows off their bipedal Atlas robot. Two Atlas units do an amazing gymnastics routine in the first clip, which is a typical Boston Dynamics flash. It’s fantastic. They flip, they vault, they almost fall over, but not quite. Atlas’ engineers describe what goes into establishing these routines in the second video, which gives an uncommonly candid evaluation of the company’s capabilities. “Atlas,” as Boston Dynamics has indicated, is a research project. It is a cutting-edge gadget that helps the company’s researchers develop better control and perception systems.” As Benjamin Stephens, Atlas’ control lead, explains in the film, “It’s a platform for us to perform R&D on.” With their gymnastic and parkour routines, the group thrills (and terrifies) the internet daily. (https://lkop.me/HCiKWD)

Others have accused Boston Dynamics of deceiving the public about their devices’ capabilities. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing and visually stimulating, the videos are also highly organized and well-choreographed. As Stephens says in the behind-the-scenes film, “It’s not just pointing Atlas at a course and letting it do its thing,” In a blog post that accompanies the video, the company’s robot developers go into greater detail about how the robot has evolved over time. Previous demonstrations were virtually blind — merely spewing out actions that would work as long the environment remained the same, according to the researchers. As a result, it now relies more on its own sense to navigate, which means that it is less preprogrammed than it was previously. Parkour’s robot is modifying its repertory based on what it observes, according to the blog post. Engineers don’t have to pre-program jumping movements for all conceivable platforms and gaps the robot could face, which saves time. Today’s video is remarkable because the robot’s motions resemble human movements at times. When Atlas hops onto a platform, he wobbles for a second and then gets back on his feet. So much better than a pre-programmed answer since it’s so dynamic. It went up and downstairs, leaped over a gap, and ran up and down banked plywood panels on a course put up on the second level of the Boston Dynamics HQ. First, the first robot leaped over a balancing beam, then the second robot jumped onto the beam and repeated the same procedures in reverse. Their backflips were flawlessly timed, and the film team was there to record it all! The robotics engineers, on the other hand, who have been working on this routine for months, hardly take the time to rejoice. They’re gathered together, making modifications before the next take, only moments after the cameras have stopped rolling. Despite the fact that this most recent try was nearly flawless, it wasn’t quite. It was expected that one of the robots would pump its arm as a big-league pitcher would do after a game-ending strikeout. Despite the fact that the robot was able to pump its arm, it also tripped a bit with such a simple maneuver. Although it was very subtle, most individuals viewing the video would not have seen it. Nevertheless, the Atlas team pays attention to every detail, and they want to make sure that everything is perfect. (https://lkop.me/HCiKWD)

It was an experiment, says Scott Kuindersma, Atlas project leader at Boston Dynamics. It seems a little uncomfortable if you view the video attentively.” Because this is a behavior that we’ve tested before, it should work.” In this case, the precision on the show is impressive, and one gets the impression that this kind of meticulous attention to detail is what has enabled robots to complete what appears to be an impossible task in the near future. But it also poses a question that, at first, appears startling, but then becomes obvious: Why does it matter at all? If Atlas stutters as it pumps its fist, why does it matter at all? To what end does it matter that it even clenches its fist at all? As a side note, what’s the point of putting the robots through an obstacle course? Why the banked plywood panels, the vault, the backflips? The capacity of a robot to perform a backflip in a business context may never be beneficial. It’s not a commercial product, rather it’s a research platform. For Atlas to be useful, though, it doesn’t need a lot of creativity or industry-specific expertise. Potential applications will be virtually infinite if robots can respond to their environs with the same level of dexterity as the ordinary adult human. According to Kuindersma, “Humanoids are intriguing from a couple of viewpoints.” “First, they represent our concept of a future robot that can travel everywhere and do everything. Human form factors are capable of performing a wide range of physical activities, even if they aren’t the optimum design for any given activity.” His research team is excited about the difficulties humanoids bring from a technological standpoint. Size and complexity generate hardware design considerations including strength to weight ratio, runtime, range of motion, and physical robustness. “ We also have to build algorithms that can reason about the physical complexity of these machines to produce a wide range of high-energy and coordinated behavior on the control side. In the end, pushing the limitations of a humanoid robot like Atlas drives hardware and software innovation that transfers to all of Boston Dynamics’ robots. (https://lkop.me/HCiKWD)

If you’re interested in learning more about the Atlas team’s experiments with new behaviors, you should check out their parkour website. To be successful, Atlas must be able to stay balanced in diverse settings and effortlessly move from one behavior to the next. Creating behaviors at the robot’s boundaries and getting them all to function together in a flexible control system is the goal, adds Kuindersma. “Parkour doesn’t require you to deal with many significant issues, but that’s not the purpose.” As a result, we aren’t attempting to address everything at once. In the process of creating a firm foundation, we may tackle the next set of research challenges.” After watching five years of Atlas footage, it’s easy to forget how far the team has come. However, some of the advances are imperceptible to the typical person, even if they represent (quite literally in this case) tremendous leaps forward in technological innovation. However, the fundamental mechanisms enabling Atlas to do dive rolls as well as backflips and handstands have changed since the first films. (https://lkop.me/HCiKWD)

The way Atlas moves now is dictated by perception, which wasn’t the case in the past, says Kuindersma. Previous floor routines and dance videos, for example, focused on our ability to link together a range of dynamic actions into a routine that we could perform repeatedly. There are still a lot of essential changes the robot’s control system must make to maintain balance and posture, but the robot was not perceiving or reacting to the surroundings.” With parkour, the robot adapts its repertoire of actions based on what it perceives. Consequently, there is no need to pre-program jumping movements for all conceivable platforms and gaps that the robot could face in the future. A smaller set of template behaviors are created instead, which may be adapted to the environment and executed online. Yeuhi Abe, a senior control engineer on the Atlas team, says: “We chose to incorporate the banked turn very late in our development process.” For the prototype, “we used simulation and robot testing to enhance tools that were created for producing jog movements in other situations,” she says. An key tool for the Atlas controls team, simulation allows them to evaluate novel behaviors before robot testing, as well as ensure that new software modifications do not negatively influence current capabilities. However, hardware testing is still necessary, especially in actions like vaulting, where performance is limited. Unlike gymnastics vaults, parkour vaults are meant to get a runner over a low wall or barrier, in this example a balancing beam, which is just a couple of feet high. Atlas puts its arm on the beam and then hoists its body over the framework with its torso and legs attached. Vaulting would be rather straightforward for most humans (particularly in contrast to backflips), but for the Atlas team, it was a daunting obstacle to overcome. (https://lkop.me/HCiKWD)

Unlike gymnastics vaults, parkour vaults are meant to get a runner over a low wall or barrier, in this example a balancing beam, which is just a couple of feet high. Atlas puts its arm on the beam and then hoists its body over the framework with its torso and legs attached. Vaulting would be rather straightforward for most humans (particularly in contrast to backflips), but for the Atlas team, it was a daunting obstacle to overcome. When Atlas is shooting, he gets the vault approximately half of the time right. It is inevitable that robots will reach their boundaries when pushed to the utmost.) When Atlas falls backward on the other runs after crossing the barrier, the engineers consult the logs to see if they can make on-the-fly modifications. Atlas controls head Ben Stephens adds, “There are a lot of fascinating behaviors here, and some of them aren’t entirely dependable yet.” There is a tiny possibility of failure for every action here.” These odds pile up after approximately 90 seconds of constant leaping and running and vaulting and flipping.” Atlas controls head Ben Stephens adds, “There are a lot of fascinating behaviors here, and some of them aren’t entirely dependable yet.” There is a tiny possibility of failure for every action here.” These odds pile up after approximately 90 seconds of constant leaping and running and vaulting and flipping.” It’s the first time Boston Dynamics has videotaped two robots doing parkour at the same time, says Stephens of Boston Dynamics. Two weeks ago, he recalls, “we hadn’t really performed the two robots together.” I think we’ve reached the tipping point where it should work.” All of the large failures have been caught, and now it’s down to the tiny probability.” (https://lkop.me/HCiKWD)

As always, everything comes together in the end. Everybody in the video team is satisfied with the final take. Engineers must restrain themselves from clapping when both robots complete the exercise before the cameras finish rolling. One of the things I enjoy about robotics is tackling difficult issues, but there are unavoidable frustrations along the road,” adds Kuindersma. The idea of a world without capable mobile robots that move gracefully, reliably, and work alongside people to improve our lives is difficult for me to envision in the next 20 years. This future, though, is still in its infancy. Demonstrations such as this, I hope, give a peek of what’s possible. One of the things I enjoy about robotics is tackling difficult issues, but there are unavoidable frustrations along the road,” adds Kuindersma. The idea of a world without capable mobile robots that move gracefully, reliably, and work alongside people to improve our lives is difficult for me to envision in the next 20 years. This future, though, is still in its infancy. Demonstrations such as this, I hope, give a peek of what’s possible. (https://lkop.me/HCiKWD)

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 0

Published by

Make Money Online

San Antonio, TX
4 followers

More from Darren Jackson

Let's take a look at Forza Horizon 3: Full Playthrough 2019.

In 2016, Playground Games and Microsoft Studios released Forza Horizon 3, a racing game for Xbox One and Windows. The game may be played on both platforms. Final Fantasy XV: Ultimate Edition was published on September 23, 2016, while Standard and Deluxe Editions were released on September 27, 2016. Forza Horizon 3 is the third installment in the series and the ninth overall. It’s not the first time that Turn 10 Studios has aided Playground Games in the creation of a Horizon game. Upon its debut, the game was universally praised by critics. Forza Horizon 4 is the highest-rated Forza Horizon title to date, with an average critic score of 91/100, based on 91 reviews, on review aggregation site Metacritic. Windows version scores 86/100 from 12 reviewers. If you’ve never played Forza Horizon 3 before, it’s a racing game set in a fictitious version of Australia. Compared to its predecessor, Forza Horizon, the game’s playable environment is approximately twice as large, and it features Australian locations and regions. However, instead of being a racer in earlier Horizon games, you’re now in charge of expanding it around Australia by completing races, challenges, stunts, and other activities. The user may access additional locations, challenges, events, and racing courses by growing the festival. In the game, there are three different racing modes: Exhibition, Championship, and Rivals. A single race takes place in the Exhibition, but a series of races take place all across the gaming globe in the Championship. Compete in time trials against an AI opponent in Rivals, a versus race in which the player must beat the opponent’s time. In Forza Horizon 2, players may also take part in Bucket List Challenges, a feature that was just added. To accomplish a challenge, the player must use a certain vehicle to attain a specified speed limit. Bucket Lis and races may now be customized using Horizon Blueprint, a new tool that was included in the game. (https://lkop.me/2DCC8D)

Read full story

Exclusive first look at the Lightyear One solar-powered electric automobile

In recent weeks, a new prototype of the Lightyear One solar electric vehicle (SEV) has demonstrated a remarkable range, all packed into a 60-kWh battery package. On a test track in Germany, the Lightyear team completed a full cycle driving test, which provided valuable insights and validation as it prepares to launch its Lightyear One SEV next year. Lightyear is a solar electric vehicle (SEV) startup located in the Netherlands. As Lightyear’s first SEV, the Lightyear One, nears completion, we’ve been covering the manufacturer since it was founded. When Mikey G of Electrek got a close-up look at a Lightyear One prototype in January of 2020, he was able to observe how this solar EV might achieve such a long-range on a very tiny battery. Since its inception, Lightyear One has been touted as having a 450-mile range per charge. According to a recent news release, Lightyear’s newest prototype, the Lightyear One, can go 441 miles on a single charge. On a single battery charge of 60 kWh, the prototype was driven 53 mph for a full driving cycle at Aldenhoven Testing Center in Germany. It was revealed by Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefloot in an interview with Electrek that the nine-hour test was a success. Although the track is rather level, the banked turns provide a little slope at the start and finish, according to Hoefloot. Between 67 and 72 percent of the banks have a banking aspect. Over the course of nine hours, the prototype was on the road, but the total test took nearly ten hours since they had to replace drivers every two hours. (https://lkop.me/jXQwjpM)

Read full story

Comments / 0