Boston Dynamics is a name well-known in the Robotics field for its self-balancing, self-correcting robot “dogs” that don’t look anything like dogs. It is also well-known for robots that, in all honesty, look more like post-apocalyptic nightmares. While parent company X (of Alphabet) has cut loose its robot dogs, that doesn’t mean the company has given up on its dreams, as this leaked video so clearly shows. Meet Handle, a robotic nightmare on two legs and two wheels.
This is no humanoid robot like ATLAS. Handle takes a bit of its looks from Boston Dynamics’ previous robots, like Spot. Handle, however, is light and light on its feet, and for good reason. Instead of galloping around on fours, the robot can “stand up” and roll out on the two wheels that make up its two hind feet.
And roll it does, with frightening speed and wanton disregard for the lay of the land. Of course, it does a bit of obstacle detection and can even jump over some low hindrances, like a traffic cone. The robot is designed to eventually carry some heavy, but not to heavy, load, hence its name, which is perhaps easier to do if you’re rolling rather than walking.
Admittedly, Handle is impressive in its ability to always be on balance despite standing only two wheels, something even humans have difficulty pulling off. It can spin around and even jump without missing a step. But it still “nightmare inducing” in its appearance, something company founder Marc Raibert himself jokingly told a captive, and perhaps shocked, audience.
Scrub to the 3:50 minute mark to see Handle in all its glory.
SOURCE: @Steve Jurvetson