Tesla (TSLA) released a short video of the latest iteration of the Tesla Optimus humanoid robot last week. This is the Tesla Optimus Gen 2.0 robot — a big upgrade over the version we saw earlier in September.
CEO and Technoking of Tesla, Elon Musk also poured in a few updates on the Tesla Bot commenting on the new video on X (formerly Twitter).
This new video (below) shows the Optimus robot performing much more complex tasks with improved mechanics than the 1st generation Tesla shown at last year’s AI Day. Since AI Day 2022, Tesla has been mostly talking about the Optimus robot’s artificial intelligence capabilities.
The latest Tesla humanoid robot update is mostly about its newly-gained physical form and abilities. Tesla Optimus Gen 2 has a significantly improved appearance. Even when we compare it to the one we saw earlier in September.
Following is the list of areas that Tesla has improved the Optimus bot:
- 2-DoF (degrees of freedom) actuated neck
- Actuators-integrated electronics & harnessing
- 30% walk speed boost
- Foot force/torque sensing
- Articulated toe sections
- Human foot geometry
- 10kg (22 lbs) total weight reduction
- Improved balance and full body control
- Faster, 11 DoF brand-new hands
- Tactile sensing on all fingers
- Delicate objects manipulation
- It can finally dance!
Redesigned Hands with Tactile Sensing
According to Tesla, the design of Optimus is “Biologically Inspired”. Therefore, Tesla is trying to keep the design of its robot as close to a human as possible.
Although Tesla had designed the hands with attention to detail for Optimus Gen 1, the manufacturer in the spirit of its continuous improvement methodology has completely redesigned them for Gen 2.
The new Tesla Optimus hands are capable of performing delicate tasks with more accuracy because of improved artificial intelligence (AI) and sensing abilities. As we can see in the video screenshot above, Optimus is lifting an egg from the container with its left hand, switching hands, and putting it into a pot with its right hand — without breaking the egg of course.
This is all possible because of Tesla Optimus’ newly-gained tactile sensing ability. Tactile sensing in humans works through a range of sensors in our skin. The Snoezelen website defines tactile sense as:
Our tactile sense keeps us in touch with our environment. Our sense of touch is derived from a range of receptors in our skin that take messages about pressure, vibration, texture, temperature, pain and the position of our limbs and pass it through our nervous system to the brain.Source: snoezelen.info
Talking about the progress of the Tesla Optimus robot’s hands, Elon Musk predicted that it will be able to thread a needle in a year. This is going to be very interesting to watch because threading a needle with hands is an extremely complex task — at least for a robot.
In addition to the hands, Tesla has improved its feet and neck with enhanced degrees of freedom (DoF) in Optimus Gen 2. It can now sense how much force/torque it’s applying while walking. The feet of the Tesla Optimus humanoid robot are redesigned using human foot geometry and toes are articulated to allow for more flexible movements.
All of the improvements to the Optimus Gen 2 robot’s feet have resulted in a 30% increase in walk speed. Tesla demonstrated the Optimus walk in this latest video (below). Just last year at AI Day 2022, the 1st-gen Optimus couldn’t walk on its own to the stage, so Tesla engineers had to carry it out.
Talking about balance and feet, Tesla Optimus can finally dance. At the end of the video, Tesla trolled all the news publishers who trash-talked Tesla and Elon Musk over a fake robot dancing at its concept unveiling in 2021.
The video also suggests that Tesla has developed multiple Optimus Gen 2 robot prototypes. It’s not just a single prototype. Musk has previously predicted that the ratio of the humanoid robot population vs humans can be 1:1. He also said that Optimus is Tesla’s true future product with a virtually unlimited demand and its value is more than the cars the company is currently making.
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