The company behind Atlas has a new impressive and terrifying robot.
Alphabet-owned Boston Dynamics is expanding beyond robots with legs. The company, which has previously made two-legged, human-like robots like Atlas and four-legged, dog-like robots like Spot, is now experimenting with a robot on wheels.
Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson shared a video of Boston Dynamics showing off a new robot called Handle named apparently after its supposed ability to handle objects that uses both wheels and legs.
The video shows Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert recapping previous robots like Spot and Atlas, before debuting Handle.
“Everybody thinks we only do legged robots, so no one has seen this. You guys are the first… this is the debut presentation of what I think will be a nightmare-inducing robot if youre anything like me,” Raibert says. “This is an experiment in combining wheels with legs with a very dynamic system that is balancing itself all the time and has a lot of knowledge of how to throw its weight, which it uses to stabilize itself. Here were just testing out the various capabilities.”
Raibert goes on to say that Handle is much more efficient than a legged robot. “It can carry a reasonably heavy load on a small footprint and its basically an exercise in seeing if we can do something like the humanoid that has less degrees of freedom but eventually could be less expensive but still have significant capability.”
Handle also shows off its stunt capabilities in the announcement.
Handle has impressively clean movements, but seems to be designed more for smooth surfaces like factory floors than the rugged terrain Boston Dynamics’ previous robots could tackle.