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Published on April 18, 2024
Electric Dreams, Boston Dynamics' Robot Atlas Goes Commercial, Spins Heads with 360-degree TwistsSource: Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics, a company with a longstanding reputation for cutting-edge robotics, is making moves into the commercial humanoid robot market, said in a statement to the Boston Globe. Their acclaimed robot, Atlas, which once danced its way into a Super Bowl commercial and many viral videos, is now slated to be sold to the manufacturing industry. The new model is electric, boasts strength beyond that of top athletes, and possesses a movement range surpassing human limits with abilities like spinning its torso a full 360 degrees.

After captivating the internet with feats of agility and hydraulics-powered dance routines, the redesigned Atlas is finally shaking up the humanoid robot race. Described by the company, this new iteration of Atlas ditches the hydraulics and instead opts for an all-electric system. "We wanted to have a machine that, when we did announce, said to the world that Boston Dynamics just set the bar for humanoids again," Boston Dynamics CEO Robert Playter told the Boston Globe.

The commercial version is designed to operate within the manufacturing sector, handling tasks that are challenging due to the weight or awkward shapes of parts. Robert Playter emphasized in an interview that this robot isn't about moving warehouse boxes, "It’s really the logistics within factories of moving the part to the assembly line," he explained. The cost of the new Atlas has not been disclosed, and the first tests in actual factory conditions will be carried out by its owner, Hyundai, with a broader rollout planned for the subsequent years.

With all eyes now on Boston Dynamics, the company expressed optimism about Atlas's prospects in a release obtained by TechRadar, saying "In the months and years ahead, we’re excited to show what the world’s most dynamic humanoid robot can really do—in the lab, in the factory, and in our lives." The Atlas robot integrates advanced AI and machine learning to navigate and perform tasks, potentially revolutionizing how work is done in environments tailored for human occupation.

The introduction of the all-electric Atlas also marks the end of the hydraulic-based model, which has been a staple of the robotics community for years. A send-off video commemorating the original Atlas's achievements and blunders has been released, paying homage to the robot that managed to capture the fascination of millions. Meanwhile, the new Atlas is expected to take the lead, available initially to a select few in the manufacturing industry, signifying a significant step forward in the realm of human-like robotics.

Boston-Science, Tech & Medicine