Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics has taken the standards of the robot development firm to a completely new level and led to the development of a dog-like robot a few months ago.
Since then, Boston Dynamics and Google have been researching 3D printing technology, in search of ways to implement the technology to optimize and to manufacture custom parts of their robots quickly and accurately.
This week, Google and Boston Dynamics showcased their new humanoid robot called Atlas, which weighs around 156 kilograms and is 1.88 meters tall. Atlas is a self-sustaining robot, which can navigate around outdoor terrains, such as mountains and forests.
One special aspect of Atlas, is its 3D printed legs. Most of the body parts have been upgraded to mimic human parts. However, such improvements require incredible amount of detail, which is extremely time consuming and expensive to develop with traditional manufacturing methods.
Instead, Google and Boston Dynamics implemented 3D printing technology to integrate dozens of new parts, sophisticated hydraulics systems and components to make the robot more consistent, less agile and to smoothen its movements.
The new 3D printed legs, which you can see illustrated in the image below, could dramatically enhance the efficiency as well as performance of Atlas. Through the usage of the 3D printing technology, Boston Dynamics and Google improved their power to cool down and added advanced multi-material surfaces to optimize the functions of the robot and to enhance the durability of Atlas.
“I can’t show you the robot yet, but we’re pursuing this pretty aggressively, and I think by the end of the year, you’ll see robots from us that use an approach of fabrication that’s more like that,” Boston Dynamics Founder Raibert explained at a conference.