I am sure we all remember Boston Dynamics Atlas. The humanoid robot that is capable of letting itself out of the door and take a stroll around the grassy compound. Since its introduction two years ago, Atlas has advanced to be able to pull of back flip and now, it does parkour too. Obviously, dear Atlas is not as quick and agile as a parkour expert, but basing on a bunch of beginners’ parkour videos on YouTube, I conclude that Atlas is indeed pretty good at it.
In the latest video posted on YouTube by the Softbank-owned robotic company, it showcased the bipedal battery-powered robot, which it aptly called Atlas Parkour, jogging, hoping over a large log and leaping up some steps – just like a human would.
“The control software uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace. (Step height 40 cm.) Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately.”
Looking at the video, I can’t help but to be impressed how far biped robotic development have come. However, at the same time, I also can’t help but to conjured up the one scene from Terminator 2: Judgement Day where the endoskeleton robots battle out with human resistance fighters. A robot overlord future may not be real now or in near future, but robots that are as capable as humans by the way of agility, dexterity and whatnot, may not be too far away.
While a Terminator sort of future may not come true, I am sure as robotic development progresses, a I, Robot kind of future is totally plausible. You know, like having courier robots that are complete with head, torso and limbs just like human beings? Yeah, that.