Watch Boston Dynamics' Robot Tackle Obstacles With Superhuman Dexterity

The nimble Atlas robot successfully jumps over and onto obstacles like a true parkour legend.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Just a few years back, when it first came into being, Boston Dynamics shocked the world with its robot Atlas, which could successfully walk on uneven ground. More recently, Atlas impressed us again with its surprising ability to perform backflips and go for a run. 

But our favorite memory is probably from when the robotics firm unveiled a video showcasing another of Atlas' incredible capabilities: That the superhuman robot runs and jumps over obstacles, and even higher onto oncoming boxes, like a Mario brothers character... or a very fast and nimble parkour legend.

This feat was achieved through complex software. 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. The height step is an impressive 40 cm.

Meanwhile, Atlas uses a computer vision system to locate itself in relation to the visible markers along the approach in order to hit the terrain accurately.

However, for those worrying about the potential upcoming robot apocalypse, it should be noted that robotics is also giving us ecosystems and bionic skeletons that turn humans into almost-superheroes. 

What does all this mean for our future? It is hard to tell, but chances are that the next few years will see man and machine work increasingly closer together.

And that may very well be to humanity's benefit. Robots could increasingly undertake tasks too dangerous or difficult for humans and become some of our best allies on Earth.