Atlas, The Humanoid Robot, Could Become Your Android Butler


Here’s to good old Atlas, the walking humanoid robot. He walks, he runs, he carries heavy loads and now – as part of a calibration program – he can do chores around the house.

This video shows the team at IHMC Robotics running calibration tests on Atlas. These tests let the operators understand how he moves in the world and what they need to do to tweak his motions. For example, by clicking on a bottle in a UI representation of the environment they can make Atlas reach out and grab the bottle in the most efficient way. Further, by showing him various tasks and seeing how his body reacts they can prepare more complex tasks in the future.

“It takes a lot of patience and out-of-the-box thinking to be a robot operator. When you approach a task or situation you’ve never seen before, you need to think of as many different ways of completing that task as you can and figure out what approach would be best for the robot. Many of the tasks ATLAS performs are done a lot differently than a human would do the same task,” said robot operator John Carff to Spectrum.

Sadly Atlas will probably never end up doing this work in your home – he’s too expensive – but robots like him could start sweeping, dusting, and otherwise coddling their fleshy masters. Then, one day, when we least expect it: boom, our brains are an organic battery for a spiderbot. It will be an interesting way to go while Atlas chortles to himself about all the broom-pushing we made him do.