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The Kid Should See This

Boston Dynamics: 40 years of development (1983 – 2023)

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Boston Dynamics robots were first developed at Carnegie Mellon (1980-1986) and MIT (1987-1995), where founder Marc Raibert was a professor. These “Leg Laboratory” inventions were one-legged, two-legged, and four-legged robots that ran, hopped, jumped, front-flipped, and trotted.

Officially founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics was bought by Google in 2013 before moving on to SoftBank Group and then Hyundai. The robots developed from 1992 to today are groundbreaking technological feats, with robotsβ€”like Cheetah and SpotMiniβ€”going viral with their internet debuts since around 2005.

1999 robotic legs
The video above covers 40 years of Boston Dynamics robot technology in just over two minutes, primarily focusing on the recent developments of Atlas, a humanoid robot that’s designed to perform a range of indoor and outdoor tasks, including walking, running, jumping, parkour, dancing, and manipulating objects.

Atlas continues to showcase dynamic agility, balance, and dexterity, potentially making it suitable for disaster response, industrial tasks, and other challenges.


In 2022, Raibert founded The Boston Dynamics AI Institute. There, he hopes to develop robots that can “watch humans perform tasks, understand what they’re seeing, and then do it themselvesβ€”or know when they don’t understand something, and how to ask questions to fill in those gaps.” Via IEEE Spectrum:

“Another of Raibert’s goals is to teach robots to inspect equipment to figure out whether something is workingβ€”and if it’s not, to determine what’s wrong with it and make repairs.”

Early robotic technology
Boston Dyamics’ legacy robots, built from 2004 to 2017, include BigDog, RiSE, RHex, LS3, Sandflea, Wildcat, Spot Classic, and Handle.

Find longer clips of various Leg Laboratory robots from 1980 to 1995 below:


Watch more from Boston Dynamics in the archives.


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