Boston Dynamics is best known for the development of a series of dynamic highly-mobile robots, including BigDog, Spot, Atlas, and Handle. Since 2019, Spot has been made commercially available, making it the first commercially available robot from Boston Dynamics, while the company stated its intent to commercialize other robots as well, including Handle.
As Boston Dynamics has said before, Atlas is essentially a research project: a cutting-edge machine that helps the company’s engineers work out better control and perception systems. “At a practical level it’s a platform for us to do R&D on,” says Benjamin Stephens, control lead for Atlas, in the video. That research includes these gymnastic and parkour routines, with which the company regularly delights (and unnerves) the internet.
Some roboticists, though, have criticized Boston Dynamics for misleading people about the capabilities of its machines. Its videos are impressive, yes, but they’re also tightly structured demonstrations — orchestrated routines that take a lot of tinkering and tweaking to pull off. You can’t just point Atlas at a course and let it do its thing, as Stephens explains in the behind the scenes video: “It’s not the robot just magically deciding to do parkour, it’s kind of a choreographed routine, much like a skateboard video or a parkour video.”
According to en.wikipedia.org; theverge.com. Source of photo: internet