Boston Dynamics, the team behind most of the nightmarish robots you see footage of on YouTube, has been showing off its latest innovation – robots that can use wheels.
A new robot called Handle – apparently because it has been designed to handle objects – is a two-legged bot on wheels that even the company’s founder Marc Raibert described as “nightmare-inducing”.
Footage of the Handle was shown during a presentation to investors and uploaded to YouTube by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson. Skip to around 3:40 to see the Handle in action.
Boston Dynamics has been part of Google’s parent company Alphabet since 2013, though there have been reports since then that Alphabet is looking to sell the firm. The robot company has constantly grabbed attention on social media with its robots – as well as making a cameo appearance in tech-based comedy Silicon Valley – but is yet to produce a robot that has been taken seriously in the service or any other industry.
Raibert described Handle as 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 around”.
The company will hope that this increased quickness in mobility on flat ground could tempt more businesses into deploying their bots in warehouses and other areas.