Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot put on a good show at the DARPA Robotics
Falling Over Competition Challenge, and since then its team of humans (Team IHMC) have been trying to find ways to keep it busy. So why not ?
It's a fun little gimmick—insert jokes about robot enslavement and/or robot butlers here—but IHMC actually has a pretty good reason for putting Atlas through is paces like this; it allows them to test new software updates without getting bored by doing the same thing over and over and over. The chores are just some fun variations that can take the place of opening a door or walking up some stairs.
Operator what the process of "driving" the bot is like, and you can see how it might get boring without a little variety.
I'm not simply sitting there with a joystick teleoperating the robot: I tell the robot through the UI that I want to grab a bottle off the table by clicking the bottle and making sure that the resulting hand is in the correct place. Then, the robot tells me how it's going to move its entire body to reach that location, through a preview in the UI. If I'm okay with the plan the robot has come up with, I tell it to execute that motion.
But a question remains. What's more demeaning to a bot: cleaning up after humans or getting kicked by them?