Article: Boston Dynamics adds wheels to its already chilling robots

Boston Dynamics adds wheels to its already
chilling robots

John Mannes/01 Feb 2017

Alphabet subsidiary Boston Dynamics doesn’t have much to prove when it comes to producing the robots of your nightmares. Previous iterations of the company’s prototypes have been kicked over by humans only to stand right back up, for example. But at an event this week, founder Marc Raibert managed to unveil something simultaneously more unsettling and technologically impressive.

Going by the name of Handle, the new bot features both legs and wheels. The creation, captured on video by DFJ’s Steve Jurvetson, is said to be more efficient than a purely legged robot. Even with a small footprint, large loads don’t seem to be a problem for the robot. Its ability to “handle” objects is where the inspiration for its name originated.

A combination of hardware and software enable the robot to balance itself and throw its weight around, even when rotating rapidly on wheels. It can even jump over objects. In the video above, at about 4:15, you can see Handle extend its arms during an extended spin for balance.

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February 01, 2017 at 10:39PM
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One thought on “Article: Boston Dynamics adds wheels to its already chilling robots”

  1. The march towards the replacement of cheap menial labour gathers pace. Millions of unskilled works would probably watch this with both wonder and a growing sense of trepidation. However, seen another way, witnessing these robots in action should be a signal to anybody that life long learning and development is the only way to stave off eventual replacement by a machine. As educators we should also not be too complacent as the capability by AI’s to teach perhaps only basic skills may be upon us sooner than we think.

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