Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot “showing off” on the job

The tech company Boston Dynamics is already famous for its advanced robots, like the dog-shaped Spot and its bipedal Atlas, but a new demonstration of the latter’s capabilities is going viral. 

The ‘bot is seen at a “construction site” made up of scaffolding, when an employee above laments he forgot his tools. 

At that the robot scans the room and grabs the forgotten tool bag. It uses a plank to make a platform for itself, then runs across it, before hopping through a narrow gap to another level and making a twisting throw of the bag up to the worker. Atlas then hops down to a lower box — and, most impressively, makes a backward twisting jump onto a mat, celebrating with a fist pump. 

“Such a show-off,” his human co-worker laments. 

In the past, Atlas has shown it’s got some dance moves and can even perform parkour that would make an American Ninja Warrior hopeful jealous.

It’s particularly wild considering that not 10 years ago, Atlas had to walk while tethered by wires to an armature.

“We’re not just thinking about making the robot move dynamically,” explains team lead Scott Kuindersma in an accompanying video. “Now we’re starting to put Atlas to work.” 

Doing things like picking up items of various weights, moving them, and throwing them around takes a level of perception and autonomy that is bleeding edge, the engineer says. 

Imagine: A construction site without the catcalls.

The future awaits.