Even though rumors are still flying around that Google’s parent company Alphabet is looking to offload Boston Dynamics, the company continues to show off new advancements in robotics. This time, Boston Dynamics is showing that it can go past just legs, showing off a new wheeled robot nicknamed ‘Handle.’
‘Handle’ is the company’s first robot with wheels and features two of them located at the bottom of the machine. On stage, founder Marc Raibert calls it a “nightmare-inducing” robot which combines wheels with legs in a dynamic system which constantly works to balance itself. He says it “has a lot of knowledge of how to throw its weight around” which is what it uses to help stabilize itself.
He goes on to explain that the name “Handle” is due to the fact that it was designed with the ability to carry items in mind, even being able to carry more weight in a smaller footprint compared to other robots. It’s also much more efficient ─ and much quicker ─ than a legged robot. In the presentation, the company even shows the robot jumping in the air and sticking the landing too, as well as going outdoors over rough terrain. You can view all of this in action starting at 3:44 in the video below.
By using wheels instead of legs, Boston Dynamics thinks it can bring down the cost of these robots since that method is inherently less complex. Hopefully, that lower price point will rope in even more potential buyers for these robots. Granted, the day these products go up for sale may not be under Alphabet’s roof.