This Google robot’s Karate Kid move is perfectly mind-blowing

13 Nov 2014 | Author: | One comment »

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas Robot Is Trying to Be the Karate Kid, Crane Kick and All.

With a shrill alarm in the background, Atlas – the robot built by Boston Dynamics – managed to do poses from “The Karate Kid,” while balancing on cinder blocks.

Engineers at Google-owned Boston Dynamics have released a new video of its human-like robot, Atlas, and the machine’s demonstrated ability to maintain a karate stance may someday earn it a black belt in martial arts.In a move that humanity will surely regret, the engineers at a Google GOOG 0.51% division have developed a robot that can imitate the famous “crane” stance from the 1980s classic movie “The Karate Kid.” According to the Daily Mail, which shows the robot building up to a “crane kick,” the machine was designed by engineers at Google subsidiary Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics isn’t exactly building a ninja robot by any means, but a video released this week of Atlas mimicking the maneuvers made famous by Ralph Macchio in 1984’s blockbuster Karate Kid is quickly raising questions about what sort of capabilities the world can expect from the next generation of automated androids. Atlas, which is also known as Ian, according to 9to5Google, is meant to have human capabilities that will allow it to someday replace people in dangerous situations like emergency response. In this case, it’s demonstrating its stability by balancing on a stack of cinder blocks while moving its limbs to various configurations — which, if you’ve ever tried, you know isn’t easy.

The latest video of Atlas, released over the weekend by the robotics team at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, is the latest example out of the lab to exhibit its 6’2”, 330 lbs mass of metal in action. When not practicing karate, the Atlas robots are actually designed to provide humanitarian relief in areas that people cannot enter, such as nuclear disaster sites. It said previous videos of Atlas showed it climbing over rubble and removing debris, indicating it is being developed to eventually go on rescue missions. Unlike earlier examples, however, the latest YouTube clip of the robot, nicknamed “Ian,” shows the colossal creation balancing in a way that would be difficult for most anyone to execute, absent the utmost athletic ability.

As RT has reported previously, Boston Dynamics and DARPA, the Pentagon’s personal science lab of sorts, have helped supply Atlas models to institutions across the United States, including Florida’s IHMC, in hopes of seeing what the nation’s brightest robotics engineers are capable of when they port their own personalized software in the skin of the cyborg-like automaton. And while select teams from coast to coast intend on perfecting Atlas in order to make it ideal for assisting with emergency situations and disaster reliefs in the future, IHMC engineers told the IEEE Spectrum that there isn’t all that much behind the unorthodox stance they’ve programmed Ian to adopt. But if part of the disaster scenario involves robots getting their legs swept by evil ninja robots (totally possible), IHMC’sAtlaswill be ready for that and more,” Ackermann wrote. “We’re not actually expecting that Atlas will be jumping, but the balance that it’s demonstrating in this ‘Karate Kid’ video has us feeling a lot more optimistic about the DRC Finals, since in the DRC Trials, Atlas could literally be toppled by a gentle breeze,” Ackermann added.

On the IHMC website, the Atlas team says that their “focus on humanoid robots is rooted in a simple concept: Because the robots will be working in environments built for humans, a human-like robot is best-suited to the challenges involved.” That isn’t to say Atlas is all that human, though.

Comments " This Google robot’s Karate Kid move is perfectly mind-blowing"

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  1. I can’t say that’s much impressive. Just a simple balancing act.

    Youtube is filled with much more impressive robot tricks, for example:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hmlj0CzT4U

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