You can now purchase the Stretch warehouse robot from Boston Dynamics

midian182

Posts: 8,041   +89
Staff member
What just happened? Remember Stretch, the Boston Dynamics robot designed for warehouse operations that was unveiled last year? The firm has announced that it is now available for purchase, though you won't get one until 2023 and 2024 as pre-orders have been so strong, with the likes of DHL snapping up the robots for its warehouses.

It was almost exactly one year ago when Boston Dynamics introduced Stretch. Unlike some of the company's other machines, such as the quadrupedal Spot and humanoid-like Atlas, Stretch has a specific use case. Its robotic arm and smart vacuum gripper allow it to pick up, move, and put down warehouse boxes weighing up to 50 pounds, while the base lets it move in any direction and even tackle ramps. But no backflips or parkour.

TechCrunch reports that several firms have secured Stretch robots. Hyundai-owned Boston Dynamics signed a massive deal with DHL in January that will see the delivery company purchase $15 million worth of robots. Other clients on the pre-order list include clothing giants Gap and H&M. Boston Dynamics says ongoing labor shortage and supply chain issues have helped spur interest in its machine.

Another factor behind Stretch's popularity is its easy setup, allowing the robot to be installed and ready to work within existing warehouse infrastructure in just a few days. Stretch doesn't need to be pre-programmed with SKU numbers or information on box sizes, works autonomously without the need for supervision or explicit directions, and has an advanced vision system that gives it the power to identify boxes and its surroundings. The machine can also work more than a full shift on a single charge, or up to 16 hours with a high-capacity battery option.

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stewi0001

Posts: 2,768   +2,535
I love it but it would not be as effective at unloading, when I worked retail. We would have 2 people putting boxes on the belt and sometime there would be pallets.

Couple things I do wonder about:
1. does it recognize if there is no more room on the belt? I'm gonna guess yes.
2. how does it react if a box breaks?
 

DrSuess

Posts: 199   +183
I love it but it would not be as effective at unloading, when I worked retail. We would have 2 people putting boxes on the belt and sometime there would be pallets.
Pallets wouldn't be a problem if you assume someone (or specialized robot) will place the pallet in front of the robot and remove the shrink wrap the robot would just remove boxes from the pallet until done.

This both awesome and not awesome depending on your perspective. Its awesome from a business perspective as it lowers labor cost and increases productivity. Its not awesome if you are an unskilled worker as the robot will take those job opportunities away.
 

Aceseven

Posts: 315   +399
Pallets wouldn't be a problem if you assume someone (or specialized robot) will place the pallet in front of the robot and remove the shrink wrap the robot would just remove boxes from the pallet until done.

This both awesome and not awesome depending on your perspective. Its awesome from a business perspective as it lowers labor cost and increases productivity. Its not awesome if you are an unskilled worker as the robot will take those job opportunities away.
The same job opportunities that people gripe about because they dont pay enough?

I know I'll get shot down but robo's like this are pretty much the endgame for work at that tier arent they? but in the end it does suck for those folks.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,939   +7,908
WOW .... now if I can teach it to pick up all the mess around the house they will sell a billion of them! Every bachelor will demand one!
 

stewi0001

Posts: 2,768   +2,535
Pallets wouldn't be a problem if you assume someone (or specialized robot) will place the pallet in front of the robot and remove the shrink wrap the robot would just remove boxes from the pallet until done.

This both awesome and not awesome depending on your perspective. Its awesome from a business perspective as it lowers labor cost and increases productivity. Its not awesome if you are an unskilled worker as the robot will take those job opportunities away.
Thinking back to my retail days, shirked wrapped pallets got stored as the whole pallet. Typically they would be promotional stuff or bulk of a product. In my scenario, this would not have been a threat to anyone's job since there was a lot to do. I will say this is not as fast as 2 people unloading. Oh another issue would be that we had to scan bar codes on the boxes and pallets when they came off the truck, so that could be another problem for the robot.

Don't get me wrong though, I still like the robot.
 

DrSuess

Posts: 199   +183
The same job opportunities that people gripe about because they dont pay enough?

I know I'll get shot down but robo's like this are pretty much the endgame for work at that tier arent they? but in the end it does suck for those folks.
Well that is the thing people never appreciate things until they are gone. The same people that gripe will be the main ones complaining they are being replaced.
 

pcnthuziast

Posts: 1,331   +1,116
When the resource that is an able human body is no longer necessary for low level labor, that once resource becomes a burden.