This Boston Dynamics ‘Nightmare-Inducing’ Wheeled Robot Spins And Jumps With Alarming Ease
Most Boston Dynamics robots incorporate two to four legs, and are intended for use on rough terrain. This latest robot, however, moves on two wheels and must constantly shift its weight to maintain balance. The videos shows the robot lifting and moving a variety of heavy objects. Handle will likely be used in warehouses with smooth, concrete floors. It also appears that it can jump in order to reach extra high shelves. Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert calls Handle a “nightmare-inducing robot”.
Scrub to the 3:45 mark for the alarming demo of something really cool.
Boston Dynamics is known for developing fascinating and often terrifying robots. One of its first robots, “BigDog”, was created in order to serve as a robotic pack mule for the United States military. The “Cheetah” robot broke the land speed record for legged robots at 28mph. One of its most well-known robots, however, is Atlas. Atlas can negotiate rough terrain, perform Karate Kid-worthy moves, and get back up after having been knocked down.
Boston Dynamics' future has not always looked so bright. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was rumored this past spring to be looking for a buyer. Google acquired Boston Dynamics in 2013, along with several other robotic firms, as part of the Replicant Initiative (which has largely failed). The robotic companies, most notably Boston Dynamics, supposedly refuse to cooperate with one another. To top it off, the general public has had a lukewarm response to robots and many are concerned that robots will take over human jobs. Alphabet has not wanted to be associated with this negative press.
Alphabet has also been concerned that Boston Dynamics is years away from developing an easily marketable product. Handle’s usefulness in warehouses might be what Alphabet needs to hang onto Boston Dynamics a little bit longer.