Happy 2021, everyone!
Now that the holidays are over, it's back to accidentally writing the wrong year on everything for at least two weeks before everything starts to normalize and feel like routine again. Anyone have any major New Years resolutions?
This is a little delayed, since it came out about a week ago, but I just couldn't stand the thought of people missing out on some dancing robots to ring in 2021. Boston Dynamics, who have become known over the last several years for their robotic innovations and fairly fantastic videos, put together a fun little New Year's video with some of their robot models. And although the idea of AI and the potential rise of robot overlords sort of freaks me out, I can't stop smiling when I watch this video.
In the video, three of the company's models - Atlas, Spot, and Handle - boogie down to "Do You Love Me?" by The Contours. Frankly, every single one of those robots dance better than I do personally, and I'm particularly amused by Spot's "twinkle toes" moves. This stuff is the kind of wholesome content that I absolutely needed in order to start off my New Year right.
If you're not familiar with Boston Dynamics, their website describes them as a world leader in mobile robots, tackling some of the toughest robotics challenges. "We combine the principles of dynamic control and balance with sophisticated mechanical designs, cutting-edge electronics, and next-generation software for high-performance robots equipped with perception, navigation, and intelligence. Boston Dynamics has an extraordinary and fast-growing technical team of engineers and scientists who seamlessly combine advanced analytical thinking with bold engineering and boots-in-the-mud practicality."
And then they use those robots and make some pretty awesome YouTube videos like the one above.
In actuality, the robots are utilized commercially for a variety of functions. The Pick, for example, is designed to assist with removing boxes from incoming pallets in warehouses, while the Spot is designed to navigate various terrain while remaining stable. The Atlas, which is the more humanoid robot you see dancing in the video, isn't available for commercial purchase and is used as research and development at the company.
I'm not a technical person and I'm certainly not at all adept with the idea of building a robot (I have terrible stress flashbacks just thinking about building my first PC!), but I love robotics. I'm fascinated by it and have lots of friends who are deep in both the profession and the hobby of robotics. One of the highlights of my year is usually visiting one of the local FIRST Robotic competitions that take place throughout the winter and early spring. A friend of mine is a head ref here in Michigan and used to mentor a team. These kids do some incredible things, and the games are usually an absolute riot to watch!
At any rate, enjoy the dancing robots. I hope your New Year is off to a strong start and that you find much health, happiness, and prosperity in 2021. Boogie down!