Skip to main content

Tesla just shocked everyone with its Optimus robot prototype

The Tesla AI Day 2022 event shocked everyone with a good look at the first Optimus robot prototype. While a preview had been shown of robotic hands forming a heart shape in the announcement of the event, the Tesla bot has been kept completely under wraps for over a year.

The Optimus prototype is in a humanoid form, as expected, and has roughly the same dimensions as a human. No one really knew what to expect from the Optimus prototype. but it was quite impressive given the short amount of time in development.

An early, tethered version of the Optimus prototype could deliver a box to a desk.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Tesla Bot had the ability to walk around untethered, wave to the audience, and even did a little, somewhat conservative dance. In a video, Tesla showed that the Tesla Bot can already pick up a box and deliver it to a desk where people are seated. It can identify and pick up other objects including a metal bar and a watering can that’s used for plants.

Tesla also showed a more refined-looking version of the Optimus robot with more flexibility and full control of every finger. This model wasn’t ready to walk yet, so it was mounted on a stand, but it moved all of its limbs to give a brief glimpse of its capabilities. Perhaps the most impressive claim is that the Tesla Bot’s price could be under $20,000.

The Tesla Bot, Optimus, on a stage.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tesla is a car company, and it has only had a year since Optimus was first announced to deliver a humanoid robot, which is an incredibly complex device. But as Musk has said time and time again, the robotics program designed for Tesla’s factories already makes it one of the most advanced robotics companies in the world.

The Tesla Bot has a head start on navigation since it uses the same vision-based technology as Tesla’s self-driving cars. They showed a video of what the AI was seeing as it walked through an office space full of furniture and people, navigating it like a self-driving car would a busy street.

A Tesla employee standing in front of the Optimus robot.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot is admittedly more advanced, but that’s the result of several years of research that saw a progression through dog-like robots before attempting a two-legged robot that can dance and even perform a bit of parkour. However, it’s not intended for the average consumer — unlike Optimus.

The engineers at the presentation went into extreme detail on the capabilities such as the joint actuators and evolution of the Tesla Bot’s ability to walk — all with a “biologically inspired design.” There was special attention paid to the mechanics behind the individual fingers and knees.

Tesla's Optimus robot has progressed through three stages of development.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Some had feared the Tesla Bot portion of the AI Day event would be all bluster, but the Optimus prototype demonstrates the work of a serious robotics team. Clearly, there’s a long road ahead before this approaches being a final product — we’re seeing a work in progress.

Tesla showed just how much work has been done toward manufacturing a compact, general-purpose robot that might be able to fill in for a human someday, changing the way work is done in Tesla factories — and beyond. From what we can tell in these early stages, there’s some exciting potential for Optimus as its development continues.

Editors' Recommendations

Alan Truly
Computing Writer
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
This Lenovo ThinkPad is usually priced at $2,688 — today it’s $589
The Lenovo ThinkPad L14 Gen 3 laptop on a white background.

If you're looking at laptop deals for an offer that will get you a high-performance device for an affordable price, you should check out the Lenovo ThinkPad L14 Gen 3, which will be yours for $589. Lenovo says it's a $2,099 discount, but we're not sure about the laptop's original price of $2,688. Nevertheless, it's a powerful laptop for that cost, which should catch the attention of a lot of shoppers. If you're interested, you still have time to take advantage of this bargain, but you should hurry because we're not sure when it will end or when stocks will run out.

Why you should buy the Lenovo ThinkPad L14 Gen 3
Lenovo inherited the ThinkPad line from IBM, according to our explainer on the different Lenovo brands, which explains the iconic look, sturdy design, and focus on productivity of the Lenovo ThinkPad L14 Gen 3. The laptop will quickly prove that it's a reliable work-from-anywhere partner with its AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 5675U processor and integrated AMD Radeon Graphics, which are combined with 16GB of RAM that's on the level of top-tier machines, according to our guide on how much RAM do you need.

Read more
One of Alienware’s best pre-built gaming PCs has a $400 discount
Alienware Aurora R15 placed at an angle on a table.

Not all gaming PC deals are worth buying, but here's an offer that gamers looking for a new machine shouldn't ignore -- Dell's $400 discount on the Alienware Aurora R15, which brings its price down from $1,600 to $1,200. It's still not what you'd call affordable, but it's a steal price for one of the brand's best pre-built gaming PCs. You're going to have to hurry though, because there's a chance that the bargain will already be gone if you check again tomorrow. Proceed with the transaction right now if you don't want to miss out.

Why you should buy the Alienware Aurora R15 gaming PC
The Alienware Aurora R16 has taken the spot of the best Alienware gaming PC in our roundup of the best gaming PCs, but its predecessor, the Alienware Aurora R15, is still a pretty awesome gaming PC by today's standards. Its futuristic design isn't just a gimmick, as the gaming desktop can play the best PC games of today and the upcoming PC games of tomorrow with its 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card, and 16GB of RAM. The Alienware Aurora R15's internal components are easy to upgrade due to the Alienware Aurora R15's Legend 2.0 design, but you won't have to swap components any time soon.

Read more
This Alienware gaming laptop with RTX 4070 is over $500 off today
Alienware m18 laptop sitting on a table.

While there are gaming laptop deals on affordable devices, hardcore gamers may be looking at the other direction -- the most powerful devices that you can get with a discount. This one fits the bill -- the Alienware m18 gaming laptop for $1,950, following Dell's $550 discount on its original price of $2,500. We're not sure how much time is remaining on this offer, so you're going to have to be quick with your purchase if you want to make sure that you're able to grab this bargain.

Why you should buy the Alienware m18 gaming laptop
The specifications of the Alienware m18 allow it to challenge the performance of the best gaming laptops -- the AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card, and 32GB of RAM. You won't run into any issues if you choose to play the best PC games at their highest settings, and you won't have to worry that your gaming laptop won't be enough for any upcoming PC games. All that power will be on full display on the Alienware m18's large 18-inch screen with Full HD+ resolution and a 480Hz refresh rate.

Read more