Boston Dynamics officially unveils Handle, its "nightmare-inducing" wheeled robot

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

A leaked video surfaced earlier this month providing the first glimpse of Boston Dynamic’s latest robot. Dubbed Handle, the advanced research robot stands 6.5 feet tall and unlike some of the company’s other creations, relies on wheels instead of stepping legs to get around.

On Monday, Boston Dynamics unveiled official footage of the “nightmare-inducing” robot and boy is it ever impressive.

As you’ll see, Handle is incredibly nimble and exhibits excellent balance and weight transfer. It’s even able to traverse tricky ramps, steep inclines and stairs, lift and carry heavy objects and hurdle obstacles with ease. Very, very impressive stuff.

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Steed

TS Booster
Why is every bot they make "Nightmare inducing" ? Why cant the media portray bots in a positive light for once. Somebody should cross a boston dynamics bot with a real doll so that humans and bots can get more social.
 
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avioza

TS Maniac
Why is every bot they make "Nightmare inducing" ? Why cant the media portray bots in a positive light for once. Somebody should cross a boston dynamics bot with a real doll so that humans and bots can get more social.
Well they could put some more attractive, light weight cowling on it without impacting its functionality. Get a small art design team together for aesthetics.

Maybe do a competition on deviant art for ideas.

Functionality aside, Japanese robotic designs do tend look much more attractive.
 

VitalyT

Russ-Puss
Everything that Boston Dynamics makes looks like nightmare, that's why Google eventually dumped them.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Considering the technology behind the Thorium based reactors and their probable miniaturization, this unit would be a good candidate, although I doubt NRC would allow one out in the public domain. Still, it does answer the power question. I would also like to see better development of a grasping claw type "hand" for the ability to pick up smaller objects. These have come a LONG way in the past 5 years and in the next 5 I can only imagine the next big hurtles it will overcome. Fall recovery, built in optics with streaming, fire & hazard resistance, the number of possibilities it practically endless; and of course they will have to pay taxes for displacing workers .... priceless!!!
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
Everything that Boston Dynamics makes looks like nightmare, that's why Google eventually dumped them.
Alphabet still hasn't dumped them yet. They did put them up for sale, but no details of any deal have emerged. Toyota's robotics lab - which is presently run by a Boston Dynamics Alumni - has expressed interest in buying them, but such a sale probably raises a lot of EX/IM questions seeing that several of BD's products are intended for military usage (Big Dog, Little Dog).

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of buyers out there looking to purchase a robotics R&D lab that only generates IP and no product. Amazon already has enough robotics companies (that actually make them money). Microsoft just spent most of their spare capital on AI startups and LinkedIn (which will likely serve as a massive data set for their AI projects). Apple could, but I doubt that they are interested. Ford and GM are too short sighted to see that their industry is withering and will be replaced with robotics technologies (like Toyota and Hyundai are doing). Musk might be able to afford them, but I doubt he will bother unless he connects "advanced robots" with "get to Mars" somehow. This leaves the options for a sale at either an international buyer like Toyota or Hyundai, or a wealthy investment firm that wants to own the IP of Boston Dynamics for when they do eventually become relevant enough to license ("when" not "if").
 

hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
Title makes total sense. These aren't remote controlled robots we're talking about. The Youtube video is titled "Introducing Handle", and if you read the comments, there are a few people in the comments saying how creepy it is.

The video I posted below in response to mantissteam is even more creepy if you ask me.

Can it get up if it falls
Probably. This one can.
 
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davislane1

You keep using "nightmare inducing" to describe this innocuous - albeit, technically impressive - robot. I'm starting to think you have a very weak constitution.
Anyone who works an hourly position in a warehouse should be terrified of this thing.
 
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mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
Anyone who works an hourly position in a warehouse should be terrified of this thing.
Fair. But we can say the same about the old weavers & seamstresses and the mechanized loom. New technologies will always displace old industries, and new ones will take their place.
 

Trillionsin

TS Evangelist
Anyone who works an hourly position in a warehouse should be terrified of this thing.
Fair. But we can say the same about the old weavers & seamstresses and the mechanized loom. New technologies will always displace old industries, and new ones will take their place.
You hope new ones will take their place. At least it still takes a team of people to build a robot like this. Then we'll have jobs building robots to build robots.... ? lol?
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
You hope new ones will take their place. At least it still takes a team of people to build a robot like this. Then we'll have jobs building robots to build robots.... ? lol?
I guess I don't believe that a warehouse worker's only marketable skill is "pick things up and put them down" - or any worker whose job is eliminated due to automation. Everyone has multiple skillsets and everyone is capable of learning new ones as the demand rises.

Entire markets are going to shift over the next 5-15 years - whole new industries will form and established ones will die or shrink. If I could predict which ones are going to b the winners and losers, I wouldn't be posting about it on any public forum and would be making the appropriate investments instead. But I do know that as long as people have things to trade - be it time, skills, or materials - the markets will continue to operate.
 
D

davislane1

I guess I don't believe that a warehouse worker's only marketable skill is "pick things up and put them down" - or any worker whose job is eliminated due to automation. Everyone has multiple skillsets and everyone is capable of learning new ones as the demand rises.
Work a basic labor gig for a year or two. 20-50 percent of those people (I imagine it varies based on industry) have zero skills on offer outside of what they've been trained to do. Most people with marketable skills work for a bit and leave for other, better paying positions.
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
Work a basic labor gig for a year or two. 20-50 percent of those people (I imagine it varies based on industry) have zero skills on offer outside of what they've been trained to do. Most people with marketable skills work for a bit and leave for other, better paying positions.
I presently work in a factory in a skilled position. I've yet to meet someone who truly has nothing to offer besides their 'body'. But, again, you could probably say the same thing about those who used to spent their days producing cloth and clothes by hand before the rise of the mechanical loom - that they were capable of nothing more. Even if that ends up truly being the case with some, it certainly wasn't the case with their children. I'm not going to pretend it will be easy or painless, but I'm also not going to pretend that the workforce won't become automated simply because some people are arguing about it on an internet forum. Companies are always going to follow what makes them the most money - and since their income is dictated by market forces beyond anyone's control, that means cutting costs. Robotics will massively cut costs.
 

JamesSWD

TS Maniac
You keep using "nightmare inducing" to describe this innocuous - albeit, technically impressive - robot. I'm starting to think you have a very weak constitution.
Agreed, though the big four-legged, dog-like one they showed way back going through the snow on a hillside...I'd classify that one as creepy, bordering on nightmare. But everything else has been pretty mild.
 

JamesSWD

TS Maniac
I'm always amazed at the balance, precision, and dexterity in each generation of bot they develop. Some serious wizardry going on here. If only the ED-209 had it this good.
 
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