Something that often bothers me about sci-fi is the loner inventor trope. A guy in a garage builds a robot, or AI, or frequently both that are somehow decades beyond the technology of his day, and all the wild implications of his vast technological leap are the fuel for the next two and a half hours of popcorn entertainment.
But the latest video from Boston Dynamics is the closest equivalent I’ve ever witnessed IRL. Sure, it’s the achievement of an entire company, and they’re doing it on YouTube for everyone to see, not in a basement. But a backflip?
It’s hard to even appreciate how hard this is for robots to do, because it’s hard to appreciate how difficult walking still is for humanoids. I wrote a whole piece about the problem of building walking robots back in 2011 — it wasn’t pretty back then, and it’s still a challenge for most full-sized humanoids.
A backflip though?
It’s a barely-believable jump forward for the state of the art. It’s astonishing. It’s a moon landing, basically, except instead of all of the people of Earth gathering around tube televisions to witness it, it just popped up on our social feeds yesterday afternoon without warning.
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.