Boston Dynamics’ ‘Handle’ Robot is Scarily Good At Parkour

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the google-owned robotics firm boston dynamics have released a video of their latest creation, which goes by the name of ‘handle.’ the research robot is being officially introduced to the public after a leaked video made headlines describing the machine as ‘nightmare-inducing.’ unlike some of the company’s previously showcased robots that stand up on either two or four legs like ‘spotmini,’ ‘handle’ navigates on two small wheels. the undeniably human-like robot is filmed rolling back and forth, going down steps, spinning in circles, jumping, squatting, and picking up crates. ‘handle’ is also seen happily navigating down a snowy hill, and performing stunts that seem more suited to a pro-skateboarder than a research robot.

as his name could suggest, ‘handle’ is designed for heavy lifting, and carrying loads of up to 50 KG. the rolling robot stands 6.5 feet tall, travels at 9 MPH and can jump up to 4 feet high. the bot uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, can can roll around for about 15 miles on a single battery charge.

boston dynamics provide further information on robot’s structure, detailing that “‘handle’ uses many of the same dynamics, balance, and mobile manipulation principals found in our biped and quadruped robots that have previously made headlines for their human-like aesthetic.’ however, by combining both wheels and legs the new robot can travel smoothly on flat surfaces, whilst still managing to bend and jump, among other stunts. nonetheless, with only 10 actuated joints, ‘handle’ is significantly less complex that many of boston dynamics’ other designs.

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