Boston Dynamics robot goes electric and gets huge upgrades

Boston Dynamics robot goes electric and gets huge upgrades

/ 11:02 AM April 18, 2024

AI is the biggest buzzword for modern technological trends, but there are more that people don’t pay much attention to. 

Case in point – humanoid robots progressing significantly, despite being far from taking over the blue-collar work soon. Boston Dynamics is the most recent example.

The Massachusetts-based robotics firm announced its flagship robot, Atlas, has gone electric. Moreover, it gained a new body and better movement.


How did the Boston Dynamics robot improve?

The first thing you’ll notice about the new bot is it looks sleeker than the previous one. A 2023 Inquirer Tech article discussed the latter. 


The old version had bent legs, a wide, chunky torso and hydraulic tubes protruding from its limbs. In contrast, the new one is slimmer and has a head shaped like camera lens.

Boston Dynamics explains its Atlas bot runs on an electric motor instead of hydraulics. As a result, it is significantly more quiet than its boisterous counterpart.

Its official press release says the company is working with Korean automotive giant Hyundai to test its projects. This Boston Dynamics robot is the latest. 

Play the video above, and you’ll notice that the robot moves smoother than the previous version too. CEO Robert Playter explained this upgrade to TechCrunch.

“We built a set of custom, high-powered and very flexible actuators at most joints,” he said.

“That’s a huge range of motion. That really packs the power of an elite athlete into this tiny package, and we’ve used that package all over the robot.”


However, you’ll notice the bot contorts its body in ways impossible for a regular human, such as rotating your torso 180°.

TechCrunch explains creating a humanoid robot doesn’t mean making these machines move like humans in every way.

Instead, robotics firms want their bots to also do things people can’t, such as twist and move unnaturally. 

Robert Playter also told the tech insider that he wants Boston Dynamics robots to do more than move boxes. 

“You want to be able to pick up complex, heavy geometric shapes that a simple box picker could not pick up — and you’ve got to do hundreds of thousands of those,” Playter added. 

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He said his company will release another video demonstrating these new capabilities soon.


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