Earlier this week, Boston Dynamics officially presented its newest robot, dubbed Handle. This is a tall, very well built robot that can both walk, spin, and do some impressive jumps.
Boston Dynamics is a robotics and engineering design company. Back in 2013, it was acquired by Google X. The company is perhaps best known for developing BigDog. This is a quadruplet robot which was designed for the United States military. Boston Dynamics is also known for producing Dl-Guy, a software which offers realistic human simulations.
And now, the company revealed its latest product, dubbed the Handle. Due to a leaked video, some information about the robot was already known. But now, with the official release, the exact robot specifics have finally been revealed.
Handle will stand at 6.5 feet tall. But its impressive height will not hinder its movements. This robot will be capable of jumping up to 4 feet high. It should also be able of reaching a traveling speed of up to 9 miles per hour.
The Handle robot was described as being more athletic and taller than most of the humans. And its robotic body is also capable of morphing quite like in Transformers. But why does it have this ability? Because Handle was equipped with both legs and wheels.
Boston Dynamics described this combination as being the “best of both worlds”. It will be offering Handle an increased mobility and traveling abilities. The company stated that its wheels should be able to carry it across any flat surface. But at the same time, its legs will be added advantage. These should enable its movement across any surface.
Details about the Handle robot were offered through a video, an official one. This clip presents the robot in action. At the same time, it also comes with a description supplied by the developers. One which offers explanations and details.
The video presents Handle as it reveals its abilities in a warehouse. As such, it shows it traveling across uneven surfaces but also doing some quite gracious spins.
At the same time, viewers can see it buzzing around the warehouse as it picks up and transports crates. Some 100-pounds heavy ones. Handle also jumps hurdles, does squats, and carrying itself down the stairs.
This latter may seem like quite a hurdle, given its structure. Handle’s wheels are attached at the end of each leg. But this does not bother it as it goes down the stairs. The robot is also seen sliding down a snow and slush covered hill. But all the while, Handle doesn’t seem to be having any trouble in maintaining its balance.
Boston Dynamics offered some details as to these latter skills. According to the company, Handle works based on electric power. This helps it operate both its hydraulic and electric actuators. Also, every battery charge should ensure a range or around 15 miles.
Handle’s technology is also based on other company products. As such, it uses some of the principles observed in biped and quadruped robots. These help it maintain its balance and dynamics and encourage its mobile manipulation principles.
Still, the robot is slightly less mobile than its biped relatives. It comes with just around 10 actuated joints, which makes it less complex.
Nonetheless, Handle is capable of carrying a “reasonably heavy” load. Which is a feat as it has a relatively small footprint. The company stated that Handle is quite like a humanoid robot but with a lesser degree of freedom. It is also an experiment in combining wheels with legs.
And Handle, the walking wheeled robot, has shown its capability of traveling or performing a task whilst still maintaining and stabilizing its balance.
Image Source: Wikimedia