How does Atlas robot work?

  • Atlas is a sophisticated humanoid robot that represents the forefront of robotics technology, with capabilities that continue to evolve and impress.
  • To accomplish difficult tasks with dexterity and accuracy, Atlas employs a sophisticated integration of perception, autonomy, simulation, cutting-edge control systems, and electric actuation.
  • Atlas demonstrates our efforts to develop the next generation of robots with the mobility, perception, and intelligence needed to be commonplace in our lives.

The Atlas robot has a whole-body dynamic balancing and is made to function both indoors and outdoors. Atlas can traverse difficult terrain on its own or through teleoperation. It can also sense obstructions. The robot has hydraulic and electrical propulsion. The Atlas hardware is a compact robot with a high strength-to-weight ratio and a spacious workspace because it makes use of 3D printing to reduce weight and space. 

Atlas can navigate uneven terrain and manipulate objects in its surroundings thanks to its array of sensors, which includes range sensing, stereo vision, and other sensors. Additionally, Atlas maintains its balance when pushed or jostled and can stand up if it tips over.

What is Atlas robot?

Atlas is a highly advanced humanoid robot developed by Boston Dynamics, a leading robotics company known for its cutting-edge innovations. 

Physical Design and Capabilities: Atlas is designed to mimic the human form and is capable of performing a variety of dynamic movements. It stands at a height of 1.5 meters and weighs approximately 89 kg, with the ability to run and jump, showcasing impressive athleticism and agility.

The robot is equipped with 28 hydraulic joints that allow for a wide range of motion. It utilises a custom battery and one of the world’s most compact hydraulic systems to enable high power for mobility and dynamic feats.

Atlas features an advanced control system that integrates perception and control, allowing it to adapt its movements in real time. It uses model-predictive control to anticipate how its motion will evolve and make adjustments accordingly.

Atlas is equipped with depth sensors that provide real-time perception of its surroundings, generating point clouds of the environment. This enables the robot to interact with the world in meaningful ways, such as manipulating objects and navigating complex terrains.

Atlas has undergone significant evolution over the years. Early versions were taller and heavier, but the latest models are more compact, with improved balance and the ability to recover from falls. The robot has also demonstrated the ability to perform parkour and gymnastics-like movements.

Boston Dynamics uses Atlas to explore the potential of the humanoid form factor for real-world applications. The robot is tested to its limits to discover the next generation of mobility and intelligence.

The manufacturing process of Atlas involves meticulous design, manufacturing, and calibration to achieve optimal performance. The robot’s frame incorporates a mixture of titanium and aluminium 3D-printed parts, providing the necessary strength-to-weight ratio for its athletic capabilities.

The latest version of Atlas operates on an electric platform, marking a shift from previous hydraulic systems. This new electric Atlas platform is supported by decades of innovation and practical experience at Boston Dynamics.

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How does Atlas robot work?

Atlas, the humanoid robot developed by Boston Dynamics, operates through a combination of advanced control systems, state-of-the-art hardware, and sophisticated software that enables it to perform a variety of tasks and movements. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how Atlas works, based on the provided search results:

Perception and Autonomy: Atlas is equipped with cameras that function similarly to human eyes, providing it with the ability to perceive the colours and distances of objects around it. This allows Atlas to build a model of its environment and plan its movements accordingly. The perception system works in tandem with the autonomy software, which decides the robot’s next actions at a high level, such as where it’s going and what it plans to do next.

Manipulation and Object Interaction: Atlas has been designed to perceive and manipulate objects in its environment. It can estimate the pose of objects, such as a tool bag, and plan how to grasp and lift them. The robot’s control system must balance competing objectives like stability and the manipulation task at hand.

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Simulation and Real-World Testing: Before executing tasks in the real world, Atlas’s behaviours are developed and tested in simulation. This simulation process allows the team to understand the robot’s limits and capabilities in a safe environment before applying them to the physical robot. This approach helps in pushing the boundaries of what Atlas can do without the immediate risk of damage.

Advanced Movements: Atlas is capable of advanced athletic feats, such as flips and spins, which are developed through a combination of simulation and real-world testing. These movements are not only impressive to watch but also showcase the robot’s potential for complex tasks in challenging environments.

Electric Actuation: The latest version of Atlas has transitioned from hydraulic to electric actuation, which allows for a more compact and efficient design. The robot’s limbs are powered by custom, high-power, and flexible actuators that provide a wide range of motion and the strength of an elite athlete.

Hardware and Control Systems: Atlas’s advanced control system and hardware give it the power and balance necessary for agility and complex movements. The robot’s design includes a focus on reliability and robustness, with fewer fingers on its end effectors to control complexity while still being able to grasp and manipulate a variety of objects.

Design Philosophy: Atlas’s design philosophy is not to mimic human form exactly but to create a machine that can perform tasks that are beyond human capabilities. This approach is evident in its unique head design, which is intended to be friendly and approachable, and in its advanced mobility and manipulation skills.

Atlas works through a sophisticated integration of perception, autonomy, simulation, advanced control systems, and electric actuation, all designed to perform complex tasks with agility and precision.


Fiona Huang

Fiona Huang, an intern reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech. She graduated from University of Southampton. Send tips to

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