Robotics

Atlas robot told to clean its room

The IHMC Atlas vaccuming
The IHMC Atlas vaccuming
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The IHMC Atlas shifting furniture
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The IHMC Atlas shifting furniture
The IHMC Atlas moving a pallet
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The IHMC Atlas moving a pallet
The IHMC Atlas sweeping
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The IHMC Atlas sweeping
The IHMC Atlas vaccuming
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The IHMC Atlas vaccuming
The IHMC Atlas tidying
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The IHMC Atlas tidying

If the current batch of robot vacuum cleaners don't seem Jetsony enough, then the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) Robotics lab may have something that fits the bill – an Atlas robot pottering about the lab with a Hoover. While the scenario may not provide an accurate picture of the domestic help of tomorrow, it does show what you can do when you've got a very expensive state-of-the-art humanoid automaton going spare.

Developed for DARPA by Boston Dynamics, the 6.1 ft (1.9 m), 345 lb (156.5 kg) Atlas is designed to explore ways that robots can assist in disaster situations where it is too dangerous for humans to go. Despite appearances, it's only semi-autonomous. In other words, an operator gives the Atlas orders for what to do, then the robot figures out how to execute its commands.

The IMHC video below shows the Atlas robot doing a bit of light housework as it shifts furniture, sweeps and vacuums the floor, moves a warehouse pallet, and picks up the odd bit of wood. Though it may seem impressive to watch a robot wielding a broom, it should be borne in mind that the video runs at 20X speed and the Atlas was tethered as it carried out its tasks. In real time, the Atlas operated on a much slower move, halt, think, await orders, and execute routine that took several minutes per task.

Speaking to IEEE Spectrum, Atlas robot operator John Carff said that the purpose of the exercise wasn't to clean up the lab, but to make practical development use of the Atlas now that its main job of competing in the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) finals, which finished last June, is over. Carff says that the Robotics Lab is periodically updating the robot's code and needs to be tested, but setting it the same DRC tasks got a bit boring, so the engineers came up with something more fun.

The IHMC Atlas sweeping
The IHMC Atlas sweeping

When the Atlas took part in the 2015 DRC final, it didn't win the competition, it captured attention as it ended its run by doing a victory dance for the crowd of 10,000 in Pomona, California.

For the cleaning exercise, the Atlas was programmed to walk with its arms extended to let it handle the vacuum and other objects.

Source: IHMC

Atlas Cleans House

4 comments
DomainRider
When Atlas understands enough about vacuuming to hold the cable out of the way, they will have made a significant step forward...
Daishi
Thank for for including that the video was 20x speed and pointing out it needed to be tethered. I generally think robots with legs are bad engineering. To support my point here are is a small team of university students that bolted a $25,000 programmable Baxter factory robot to some electric wheels that does the same thing at a fraction of the cost with significantly less power. The video is in real time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk6Yd8fqKAo&list=PLW6rDCE4DbFXT4fwuUMBxs8I1A_y6jgp3&index=2 My respect for robots with legs is right up there with flat eathers, homeopathy, and fortune tellers. It is at best art, but it's certainly not science.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I liked the robot using a manual vacuum!
JagtygerII
I truly wonder how many of those non producing Liberals in the Major Cities realize just how close they are to becoming "Superfluous" to the Elites. Once Robots can do all the menial jobs now done by unskilled labor there will be no need for a pool of them. And we all know that once the Elites of society decide that they have no need of someone any longer, that person is as good as dead. After all, they will think, why should we continue to pay to keep them alive. If UN agenda 21 was not a reality before it will be very soon