Video: Boston Dynamics' dino-like Handle robot prepares to get a real job
It's always stunning to see the latest videos out of Boston Dynamics, where robotics seems 10 years ahead of anywhere else. And this time, you won't be having nightmares about Handle coming for you – you'll be thinking about exactly which warehouse jobs it's coming for first.
When we first saw Handle in action, we marveled at its agility. Balancing in surreal fashion on two legs with wheels at the end, it rolled down staircases, leapt into the air and generally kept us up at night imagining a thousand Black Mirror-type scenarios where this thing would hunt us down one by one on a xenocidal rampage.
Now it's back, presenting an entirely different type of threat: it doesn't look like it's going to kill us, just render our time and manual labor worthless. Handle has been re-purposed for warehouse work, and fitted out with intelligent vision systems that allow it to autonomously pick and stack boxes on pallets.
Watching it in motion is extraordinary as always, particularly in this case the way it uses a large "tail" counterweight to pre-balance itself before maneuvers on the floor. We didn't see it so much in the previous videos, but Handle's bipedal design now looks very much like a T-Rex in motion, swinging its tail back and forth to balance out boxes as heavy as 15 kg (33 lb).
This version of the robot can work with pallets up to 1.2 m (48 in) deep and 1.7 m (69 in) tall. And it does a nice job of stacking regular-sized boxes – it'll be interesting to watch it learn to play Tetris with a range of irregular box shapes as it gets ready for its first real days at work.
Check it out in the video below.
Source: Boston Dynamics