Entrepreneurs

Give Them the Gold Medal! Watch These Robots Backflip and Balance Beam in Sync in Fascinating Video

Boston Dynamics and Atlas have put two robots on a Parkour mission.


2 min read


Whether we’re ready for it or not, it’s become clear that robots and their roles in mainstream society are the way of the future.

From major companies already implementing the technology into warehouses, to others developing ways that the automated technology can help streamline operations and other hands-on jobs, its impossible to deny that the advancements that the robotics world has seen are anything less than impressive.

Perhaps at the forefront of this wave is Boston Dynamics, an engineering and robotics company focusing on robotic design that prioritizes “advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence,” whose video of a dancing robot went viral on Twitter last month.

On August 17, the company debuted a new video of two Atlas robots going through a Parkour course.

In the video, the robots leap, jump, vault, balance on a balance beam and even backflip flawlessly.

Related: “Creepy” Video of Robots Dancing Causes Internet Frenzy — And Even Elon Musk is Weighing In

During one point in the execution, when one of the robots was supposed to pump its fist into the air, it begins to stumble a bit, stumping the Dynamics team and forcing it to work on swapping in another pre-programmed behavior for that part in the sequence.

“The perfectionism on display here is admirable,” wrote Calvin Hennick in a blog post for Boston Dynamics. “One gets the sense that this sort of attention to detail is what has produced robots that are capable of completing such a futuristic, impossible-seeming routine.”

The decision to make a Parkour routine was a logical one for the Atlas team, as the activity allows for ample and wide-ranging movement and behaviors for the robots to partake in themselves.

“I think that’s one of the joys of robotics, that we’re solving really hard problems, and with that comes the inevitable frustrations along the way,” explains Scott Kuindersma, Atlas team lead at Boston Dynamics. “I find it hard to imagine a world 20 years from now where there aren’t capable mobile robots that move with grace, reliability, and work alongside humans to enrich our lives. But we’re still in the early days of creating that future. I hope that demonstrations like this provide a small glimpse of what’s possible.”

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