The robot can jump over a meter and stands as tall as a human.
Boston Dynamics, bought by Google in 2013, has found fame on the internet for their various impressive, and often intimidating robots. Their most famous bot, a robot dog capable of carrying heavy loads across uneven terrain, might see deployment in battlefields and for disaster relief in the future. The company has now leaked images of a new robot called ‘Handle’.
Handle stands at two meters tall, taking a shape slightly reminiscent of a prancing horse. It’s propelled by wheeled legs that can move it at 14.5 km/h, and can jump 1.2 meters into the air, landing with enough grace to keep rolling without slowing. It can also spin on a dime, and navigate on uneven terrain, or in rough conditions such as snow or rain. The robot features both electric and hydraulic actuators, and when fully charged has a range of around 24 km.
What sets Handle slightly apart from its Boston Dynamics peers is that it moves on wheels, trading the company’s signature walking-bot-style for something more practical, cheaper, and easier to produce. While the new robot is just for research and development purposes, this design choice might hint to the company wanting to move away from experimental work and closer to something that could hit a production line for commercial purposes. While having feet certainly helps with navigating tricky terrain, wheels would be far more efficient for, say, a robot moving boxes around in a warehouse.
Adding to this point, Handle only features ten actuated joints, which would further simplify production on a full scale. Whether we’ll see any such product remains to be seen. You can see a video of Handle below: