Elon Musk's Inspiration from Boston Dynamics' Humanoid, Says Founder

Advances in Robotics Transform Industry and Art

by Zain ul Abedin
Elon Musk's Inspiration from Boston Dynamics' Humanoid, Says Founder
© Omar Marques/Getty Images

In the dynamic world of robotics, a captivating revelation has emerged from the founder of Boston Dynamics, Marc Raibert, hinting at the possible inspiration behind Elon Musk's latest venture into humanoid robotics with Tesla's Optimus.

On a recent episode of Lex Fridman's podcast, Raibert shared insights that suggest Musk's vision for Optimus could be fueled by the technological strides made by Boston Dynamics' renowned bipedal robot, Atlas. Boston Dynamics, a company that has become synonymous with cutting-edge robotics and has gained notoriety for its "Black Mirror"-esque robot dogs, could have been a beacon of inspiration for Musk.

Raibert, whose journey began with a spinoff from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab in 1992, humorously expressed his desire to host a robot meetup between Atlas and Tesla's Optimus, indicating a friendly rivalry and mutual admiration in the robotics community.

The Optimus robot, first unveiled by Tesla at its AI day in September 2022, has already garnered significant attention. During the event, a prototype of Optimus was showcased, highlighting the company's ambitious foray into humanoid robotics.

Musk, with his characteristic foresight, has suggested that Tesla might start shipping some units of Optimus as early as next year, a move that could mark a significant milestone in the integration of robotics into daily life.

Atlas and Spot: Robotic Evolution

The development of Atlas by Boston Dynamics has been nothing short of remarkable. Since its debut in 2013, Atlas has evolved from navigating rocky terrain to achieving a range of complex movements.

Standing at five feet tall, Atlas can now move at a speed of 2.5 meters per second, jump, throw objects, and run, showcasing the incredible advances in robotic agility and versatility. The robotic landscape was further diversified in 2020 when Boston Dynamics introduced Spot, a four-legged robot dog that has since been adopted in various innovative applications, including art.

In a unique intersection of technology and creativity, an artist trained three Spot robots to paint, leading to a distinctive art exhibition. Boston Dynamics' influence extends beyond its technological creations. In 2021, the company was acquired by the South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company in a deal valuing the robotics firm at $1.1 billion. This acquisition underlines the growing importance of robotics in various sectors, including automotive.

Elon Musk