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Boston Dynamics has programmed two robots to do parkour, and it’s breathtaking to watch

What’s even better than parkour? Robot parkour. And these two humanoid robots show us exactly how it’s done with incredible style.

It’s hard to imagine something much more exciting to watch than the graceful gravity-defying leaps of parkour, but somehow it is even more mesmerising when performed by a bipedal robot that moves uncannily like a human performer. Just take a look for yourself:

Easily defying obstacles in its path and even performing backflips, the Atlas robots get top marks both for ability and execution – and don’t they just know it, with those cheeky victory celebrations afterwards.

Related: Is the new Xiaomi Cyber Dog actually a copycat?

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robots stand at a height of 1.5m and weighs 89kg, and it’s composed of 3D-printed parts. A total of 28 hydraulic joints allow it to achieve its exceptional mobility, and the biped can reach a top speed of 1.5m/s.

The uncannily human-like movement is down to three main factors: a behaviour library of template motions in the robot’s memory; real-time perception from depth sensors which scan the machine’s surrounding environment; and model-predictive control.

Boston Dynamics is not the only company looking to bring humanoid robots into the mainstream; Elon Musk has announced the launch of a prototype Tesla Bot for 2022, which is intended to do “boring, repetitious and dangerous” work in the place of humans. This model will be both taller and lighter, at 1.7m and 56kg respectively.

How should we decide which one is the superior? There’s only one possible solution: fight!




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