This Is Not The Robot Butler You Are Looking For - ATLAS Does Chores
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 24 January 2016

Ever since the Jetson's Rosy cleaned up for them, the children who watched grew up wanting one. A robot housekeeper would be a hit product and would sell without effort. What about giving a home to the awesome ATLAS? He has added cleaning to his repertoire ...




... but not very quickly!

After the Darpa Robot Challenge, the teams with ATLAS robots just didn't give up and they have made a lot of progress. Not so much that you can expect an ATLAS to run into a burning building and rescue you. Despite the video below, you can't even expect an ATLAS to do the housework:



Yes it is fun but... 

... there are two things you need to know.

The first is that video is speeded up by a factor of 20. In real time watching ATLAS do any of these tasks would be about as entertaining as watching paint dry. 

The second is that this is not autonomous behavior. The robot is being operated remotely by a "driver". This isn't quite as bad as it sounds because the software allows the human to generally indicate what is required and then it computes the movements needed to achieve the result. The movement plan is shown to the operator who okays it before the robot moves.

This is all an indication of how difficult these tasks are to automate by standard engineering techniques. By this measure we still seem to be a long way off having a robot Rosy. At the moment if you want a robot to sweep your room then you need a Roomba-style dedicated device.




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Last Updated ( Monday, 25 January 2016 )