Boston Dynamics is best known for its bipedal and quadrupedal robots, but it turns out the company has also been experimenting with reinventing the proverbial wheel when it comes to them, albeit on it’s new prototype.

Meet the company’s new wheeled, upright robot who is named Handle (“because it’s supposed to handle objects”) – but personally I was thinking of the Cyberman Robot “HANDLES” from Doctor Who, and it looks like a cross between a Segway, Hoverboard, and the two-legged Atlas bot.

On wheels.

Handle hasn’t been officially unveiled, they said, but was shown off by company founder Marc Raibert in a presentation to investors. Footage of the presentation was uploaded to YouTube by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson.

OBSERVE:

Raibert describes Handle as an “experiment in combining wheels with legs, with a very dynamic system that is balancing itself all the time and has a lot of knowledge of how to throw its weight around.” He adds that using wheels is more efficient than legs, although there’s obviously a trade-off in terms of maneuvering over uneven ground.

I’m here thinking of fastastic scenarios like Short Circuit, Terminator, The Matrix, and A.I. for a start.  On one hand; just strap some weapons of mass destruction on that thing if DARPA ever gets its mits on that piece of hardware and let it loose.  And on the other; I can see robots like this one exploring other planets within and without our solar system as part of their use to go where human life can’t support yet.

The possibilities are endless, both good and bad.  But as always, let’s all try to think positive.

boston_dynamics_handle_jump.gif

But just looking at the video, I get the feeling that it’s one big metal puppy.

 

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Author: Richard R. for Raccoon TV

Reacting to Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

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