Tesla’s Humanoid Robot Optimus

tesla robot

On September 30th, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled “Optimus,” his humanoid robot named after himself, at their AI Day event. This robot is meant to work in factories and then be taken home to perform tasks like watering plants or carrying boxes.

The robot is constructed using off-the-shelf components but will be able to take advantage of Tesla’s actuators, batteries and control systems. Furthermore, it uses adapted versions of Tesla’s AI-based Autopilot software.

Human-like Functionality

Robots have become a buzzword in the tech community lately. From Boston Dynamics to Sophia, companies are developing machines that can aid people with daily activities, perform dangerous tasks and even interact with humans in various ways.

Humanoid robots, however, must be programmed to perform a set of predefined tasks with ease. This adaptability and flexibility is especially crucial in unstructured environments like factories where robots must be able to adapt quickly and adapt.

Last week at Tesla’s AI day, CEO Elon Musk unveiled Optimus, a humanoid robot prototype intended for use in their factories. This robot can perform “general purpose” tasks like picking up packages, watering plants and moving metal bars.

Optimus features a torso with an integrated computer that can process vision data and make split-second decisions based on multisensory inputs. It also features a face that displays a screen and responds to voice commands.

Tesla engineer who works on Optimus was present to demonstrate some of the robot’s features. She stated that engineers at the company are striving to develop a robot hand capable of rotating 300 degrees per second with tens of thousands of tactile sensors, enabling it to grasp and manipulate various objects.

The hands of the Optimus prototype can also be used for holding small parts and tools. Each hand features six actuators and 11 degrees of freedom that can be controlled by an in-hand controller.

Programmable robotic hands can also be programmed to respond to sensory input in order to perform tasks accurately. Furthermore, the robot’s hands possess various metallic tendons which allow it to grip and manipulate items.

Tesla employees were proud to showcase their progress with the Optimus robot. They said the robotics team is dedicated to recreating a machine that looks as lifelike and attractive as possible.

At the event, several engineers took turns on stage to explain some of the most intricate features of the Optimus robot. They donned black T-shirts featuring images of metallic robotic hands making a heart shape.

Human-like Design

Tesla has been building electric cars and self-driving vehicles for years, but is now looking to break into robotics. Elon Musk, the company’s head, revealed plans for a humanoid robot that could be used for “eliminating hazardous, repetitive tasks” as well as responding to voice commands.

Tesla has been investing heavily in AI and autonomy algorithms for its electric vehicles, according to a post by CEO Musk published last week in China’s Cyberspace Administration. These technologies will be essential for the robot’s operation.

This development has raised many questions about robots’ interactions with humans. While it may be feasible to build robots that can perform specific tasks such as operating tools and carrying objects, there are potential risks such as an uncanny valley effect when a robot appears too human-like or misaligned with users’ ethics.

Developing a robot’s ability to move is particularly complex because it necessitates an understanding of the physical laws governing human movement, such as walking mechanics, balance and coordination. Furthermore, selecting which motors are suitable for each task presents another challenge.

Tesla’s approach to humanoid robot development is unique, as the automaker has invested thousands of hours testing and refining its hardware and software. Its Optimus robot utilizes a 2.3 kWh battery pack located in its torso, along with a chip system and 28 structural actuators for movement.

Each hand features six cable-driven actuators for its fingers and thumbs, along with springs to provide opening force. These hands boast 11 degrees of freedom – more than what’s found in most other robots.

Furthermore, the robot’s hands are designed with a grip similar to that of a human with metallic tendons that can flex and bend for strength and flexibility. Furthermore, there’s a camera built-in for visual feedback so the robot can monitor its actions and ensure it moves in an organic way.

Tesla hopes to release a humanoid robot next year, though it still has much work ahead of it despite its advanced hardware. The software that allows the robot to respond to voice commands, collect information, and act in vulnerable situations is much more challenging than just having good hardware – which is why it took Tesla so long to get it up and running.

Human-like Battery

Tesla announced in August that they are developing a humanoid robot capable of doing everything from grocery shopping to driving your car. Due for release in 2022, this model utilizes their FSD autonomous vehicle technology and Autopilot cameras.

Musk says the drone is 173 centimetres in height, weighs 57 kilograms and can carry 20kg of cargo. Its battery pack is a 2.3 kilowatt hour unit which should provide enough energy for an entire day at work.

Optimus’ body contains a central computer that processes vision data, makes split-second decisions and facilitates communications. It also has wireless connectivity as well as audio support.

The torso also houses a “biomorphic” battery, a zinc-based type of lithium battery that replicates fat reserves on the body. According to researchers, this new battery technology could boost robots’ energy capacity by 72x.

While using a solely human-powered power source may not be ideal, it does make sense if you need many batteries. One way of accomplishing this is through heat harvesting, which can be accomplished using thermoelectric generators.

Another solution is piezoelectricity, which transforms pressure into electricity. This method is commonly employed for medical implants but not very efficient; so scientists are currently exploring other sources of energy.

Scientists in Singapore have created a biomimetic battery that generates electricity through perspiration. It’s soft, stretchy and slightly flat, with printed silver flake electrodes that generate current when exposed to sweat.

Powering devices that aren’t necessarily moving, like brain implants, with this method is less expensive and more flexible than other methods.

The CU Boulder team is hoping their new technology can be utilized to power electronics on wearables without needing a separate battery. They especially envision it being able to power sensors that monitor heart rate or blood pressure, providing real-time health tracking and an improved lifestyle. In fact, this battery could potentially be utilized for all sorts of devices that cannot easily be powered by chemical batteries.

Human-like Software

Tesla has earned a reputation for producing stylish electric vehicles, but its latest big project involves building robots. Elon Musk recently stated that Tesla would venture away from self-driving cars to create humanoid robots capable of carrying items, answering voice commands and fulfilling human needs.

Musk has a history of missing deadlines and overpromising, yet he continues to push the envelope when it comes to what his company can achieve. While there’s no word yet on when self-driving cars will be ready for mass commercial use, Musk believes this would be a major milestone that would result in an enormous boost to the company’s revenues.

The Tesla robot is powered by Autopilot software designed specifically for cars. It utilizes inverse kinematics to mimic human motions and online motion adaptation to account for its unstructured environment.

Although this type of software has been around for some time, it’s becoming more frequently applied in robotics. Boston Dynamics, for example, has been able to create robots that walk like humans, move at a similar rate, and demonstrate dexterous acrobatic movements.

Though these robots may be impressive, they lack the capacity for reflexive response when faced with unexpected circumstances. This poses a particular danger if they are used to replace people in certain jobs such as transporting goods.

At the event, Musk unveiled a prototype walking robot built using off-the-shelf mechanical actuators – cylindrical devices with motor, gearing and sensors. He showed it picking up boxes, carrying watering cans for plants and working at an indoor station inside a factory.

He then demonstrated a more advanced model that couldn’t walk but could lift its legs out of the way to grasp objects with its hands. Operated using off-the-shelf actuators, this machine also featured a screen on its face for communicating with people.