Tesla recently blew some minds when the company posted a video demonstration of its Optimus Gen 2 humanoid robot. But inasmuch as the Tesla Bot is already very impressive today, CEO Elon Musk has shared an even more ambitious target for Optimus — one that could hopefully be accomplished in a year.
The Optimus Gen 2 video that Tesla released revealed several updates that have been implemented on the humanoid robot. Most notable of these were Optimus Gen 2’s hand movements, which were so humanlike that Tesla skeptics promptly dismissed the video as CGI.
Tesla noted in the video that Optimus Gen 2 is equipped with faster, newly designed 11-DoF hands, and its fingers now feature tactile sensing. Tesla demonstrated this new feature by having Optimus Gen 2 transfer an egg from one container to the next. Elon Musk, for his part, noted on X that so much engineering has gone to Optimus Gen 2’s hands, but the Tesla team is not done.
So much engineering has gone into the hands. In a year, it will be able to thread a needle.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 13, 2023
As per the CEO, Optimus should be able to thread a needle in a year. That’s an insane target, as even human beings could have difficulties threading a needle without the help of tools. If Optimus could hit such an ambitious target in a year, Tesla would effectively establish itself as one of the leaders in robotics.
Considering the rapid progress of Optimus, it is quite easy to forget just how young the program is. Tesla announced its humanoid robot project during AI Day 2021, and at the time, all the company had to show for its efforts was a static model showcasing the robot’s target design and a man dancing around the stage in a robot suit. The dancing robot suit segment of AI Day 2021 was met with equal amounts of mockery and skepticism.
Pace of Progress— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 13, 2023
It became a bit more difficult to deny the progress of Tesla’s humanoid robot program in AI Day 2.0, which was held in September 2022. During the event, Tesla showed off its development prototype, fondly named “Bumblebee,” which was built with off-the-shelf parts, walking on its own onstage. Tesla also revealed Optimus Gen 1, which was built with custom parts. The robot, however, was still unable to stand on its own then.
By May 2023, Tesla posted a video on social media showing Optimus Gen 1 walking around on its own. And on September 2023, the electric vehicle maker posted a follow-up video showing Optimus Gen 1 sorting objects by color and doing some yoga poses. The progress of Optimus Gen 1 from AI Day 2.0 to the September 2023 demonstration was already pretty insane, so needless to say, it would be very interesting to see just how Optimus Gen 2 improves further next year.
Tesla’s video demonstration of Optimus Gen 2 can be viewed below.
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