Alphabet-owned Boston Dynamics revealed a new variety of upright robot, labeled by many as a crossover between an Atlas model and a Segway.
Handle, Boston Dynamics’ latest invention, drives on two wheels and can lift and carry objects, hence its name. The footage was revealed at an investors meeting hosted by the company’s founder Marc Raibert.
Robots will be more than we imagine
Reportedly, Handle is the result of a useful combination between wheels and legs, keeping its balance and being able to carry and move weighed packages around. Raibert assures that wheel-based movement is more efficient than using legs, but the result was something that he called a “nightmare-inducing robot.”
The issue would be that Handle could not operate on uneven terrain. Other than that, the robot would be ideal for moving and organizing items on a warehouse.
Although the company’s products don’t seem to stop surprising people, Google associates have stated that they cannot maintain a business if it cannot output a marketable product within ten years. It is a different stance compared to the search engine giant’s intentions back in 2013, as it bought various robotic companies.
The best one of these companies was Boston Dynamics, which had collaborated with DARPA. At the time, Boston Dynamics had only developed the Cheetah robot, able to run at a speed of 30 miles per hour on a treadmill.
Now Google aims to sell the company. Apparently, Toyota and Amazon are interested in buying it; Toyota for implementing robots in assembly lines and Amazon for its warehouses. This is all a step away from Boston Dynamics’ primary assembly purpose, which is designing equipment for the military.
But it is not just Boston Dynamics that Google decided to scale back. Other branches of the company have seen similar treatment, such as its internet service provider Google Fiber and drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace.
Even if Google lets go of Boston Dynamics, the company will keep developing its robots, as it has already paved the way for the future of robotics. Boston Dynamics was founded 25 years ago by Raibert and jumped into the public eye after revealing their “BigDog” quadruped robot, built for military use.
Other robots for different applications have been revealed to the public, such as Spot Mini, a robot resembling a dog intended for domestic use. There is footage of Spot washing dishes, slipping and falling and then getting back up, and performing a wide range of home activities that could be easily programmed and monitored by using a smartphone or a dedicated app.
Just imagine pairing up Alexa or Siri with Spot, resulting in an automated assistant, able to understand speech and complete tasks in an efficient and safe manner.
Thankfully, it’s not just a matter of whether Google has made the right decision in putting Boston Dynamics for sale, seeing that it is a promising company whose products have much to offer for a broad range of industrial and domestic applications.
Source: The Verge