Boston Dynamic’s Atlas humanoid has become a smug showboating robot that does actual backflips

Despite looking like something rejected from The Jetsons for being too mechanical, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot has an interesting selection of tricks up its sleeve. Not only can Atlas take a beating with a hockey stick without falling over, the robot, it appears, can now do the kind of gymnastics that most humans can’t do without risking serious spinal injury.

Yes, Atlas – a 75kg robot – can do a backflip. And here I am struggling to touch my toes.

Not only has it mastered the backflip, it also seems to have developed an inherently human sense of smugness over its abilities. That victory stance is straight out of the Premier League celebration playbook.

But while that’s all very impressive, as skills go it does leave me scratching my head somewhat. Like being able to fit ten Oreos in your mouth, it’s technically an achievement, but unlikely to be of much use in your day to day existence. Especially as the build-up to the flip takes some very obvious preparation: a robot doing a backflip is certainly surprising, but the element of surprise is definitely lessened by the elaborate setup.

What I’m saying is that Atlas is unlikely to appear in any martial arts movies anytime soon. But it’s certainly evolving quickly, so maybe I’ll be eating my words in a year’s time as Atlas scoops an Oscar for its starring role in RoboNinjas, on the back of single-handedly taking down a terrorist cell. All with the help of its trusty headless robodog companion, of course.

You can watch the full video below.

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