Boston Dynamics’ new electric Atlas robot is swiveling nightmare fuel

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Boston Dynamics wanted the new version to show that Atlas can keep a humanoid form without limiting “how a bipedal robot can move.” The new version has been redesigned with swiveling joints that the company claims make it “uniquely capable of tackling dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks.”

“We designed the electric version of Atlas to be stronger, more dexterous, and more agile,” the company said in its press release. “Atlas may resemble a human form factor, but we are equipping the robot to move in the most efficient way possible to complete a task, rather than being constrained by a human range of motion. Atlas will move in ways that exceed human capabilities.”

The teaser showcasing the new robot’s capabilities is as unnerving as it is theatrical. The video starts with Atlas lying in a cadaver-like fashion on the floor before it swiftly folds its legs backward over its body and rises to a standing position in a manner befitting some kind of Cronenberg body-horror flick. Its curved, illuminated head does add some Pixar lamp-like charm, but the way Atlas then spins at the waist and marches toward the camera really feels rather jarring.

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The design itself is also a little more humanoid. Similar to bipedal robots like Tesla’s Optimus, the new Atlas now has longer limbs, a straighter back, and a distinct “head” that can swivel around as needed. There are no cables in sight, and its “face” includes a built-in ring light. It is a marked improvement on its predecessor and now features a bunch of Boston Dynamics’ new AI and machine learning tools.

The company also said it’s continuing to build on capabilities already achieved with the last generation hydraulic Atlas model, such as lifting and maneuvering objects, alongside exploring “several new gripper variations” to ready the robot for a range of different industry environments.

Boston Dynamics said the new Atlas will be tested with a small group of customers “over the next few years,” starting with Hyundai. Other humanoid robots from rival providers like Figure and Apptronik are similarly being tested on production lines for BMW and Mercedes, respectively.

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Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz