Robotic gymnastic
© Boston Dynamics
'Sticking the landing'
The Boston Dynamics humanoid robot Atlas has channeled his inner Simone Biles to put on a gymnastics display showcasing the machine's uncanny fluidity of movement. A new clip posted by its developers shows the robot running through its floor routine, including a handstand, some impressive rolls, and a 360-degree mid-air twist.

The team wrote that the robot uses all of its 'body' to run through the movements and that new techniques were used to "streamline" the processes.

"First, an optimization algorithm transforms high-level descriptions of each maneuver into dynamically-feasible reference motions," they explain. "Then Atlas tracks the motions using a model predictive controller that smoothly blends from one maneuver to the next."

YouTube viewers were equal parts alarmed and impressed by the flawlessness and flexibility of the mechanical gymnast. "So they won't just be able to destroy us, but now they will also be fabulous while doing it," one wrote after watching the footage.

"Imagine walking home from work and seeing a 6 foot 150kg robot doing somersaults and rolling down to end your existence," another suggested more ominously.

Some people are already thinking outside-the-box in terms of potential uses for such an agile, powerful machine. "This would've been useful at the Area 51 raid," one person mused. "Too late now."