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Olympic Robots FTW

Olympic Robots FTW

We have been on about robots for a while now and how they have been getting more intelligent over time. A lot of these previous use cases have been on the automation of human tasks and other intellectual work done by robots or robotic processes. Celebrating the spirit of the Olympics, we wanted to bring to you more innovations on the physical manifestations of these robots. 

Olympic Robots FTW
Humanoid Robot Sophia by Hanson Robotics Image Source:

Sophia, modeled on Egyptian queen Nefertiti, Audrey Hepburn, and the founder’s wife is set to be mass sold later this year. With cameras embedded in her eyes, Sophia excels at communication and general reasoning. With the pandemic exposing more sections of the society that need help, the plan is to launch Sophia as a social robot to not just assist in healthcare. She can become a companion and work for the elderly in old-age homes. While we aren’t fans of robots taking over nonmundane jobs that people perform, she does look a little scary like I am in the middle of a Black Mirror episode. Also, compared to millennials & Gen-Zers glued to their cellphones, old people look forward to human interaction, so it may not be the best use case to cater to.

Olympic Robots FTW
Boston Dynamics’ Atlas Robot Source:

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Boston Dynamics who have been perfecting robots with limbs like humans and animals. In one of their recent videos, the Atlas (pictured above) is seen performing parkour moves and a full gymnastic routine. The main focus of the Atlas is to balance and move around like a real human would and you can see multiple videos of the Atlas dancing to pop culture songs on their website. The main use case for these robots is to be sent to places where humans can’t go without any risk – think forest fires or land mines. These robots seem fit and are currently being deployed to augment police forces and military units. While they can’t do much other than relay information and perform simple tasks, Boston Dynamics has a strict policy that prevents these robots from wielding weapons. They are also not equipped to replace police forces, but only to help deescalate situations and carry out tasks that would endanger humans.

Another robot making our list today from Boston Dynamics is Spot the dog. As expected, it is a 4 legged robot with a camera that can move around a factory floor and conduct inspections. 

Olympic Robots FTW
1Boston Dynamics’ Spot Source:

Spot can help oversee operations over a large area and a modern version also has an arm that helps it open doors, turn levers, etc. With a high probability of this being put to the wrong use, there is a strong vetting policy to buy one of these devices. With a starting price of approximately $75k, you have to be an approved buyer and not on any government list to get one of these devices. With autodocking functionality, this bad boy can get into hard-to-reach places and check pressures, temperature, identify leaks, and much more. 

With the latest in AI and Machine Learning being added to robots, it is only a matter of time before we see full-scale Olympic competitions for robots. What use cases do you see robots being deployed for and how soon do you think we are going to be ready for robot butlers? Let us know in the comments.

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