When the tech-minded folks of Boston Dynamics aren’t busy knocking their robotic creations over, making robot chihuahuas, or pulling machines straight from our nightmares, they’re bringing some absolutely stunning practical robots into the real world. Case in point is the research company’s latest robot, a 6’6″, 10-jointed automaton named Handle that can lift 100lbs with ease. Okay, maybe those stats aren’t all that impressive in and of themselves; even I, a puny human, can compete with them. But what sets Handle apart from many other modern robots isn’t its immense size or impressive strength, but rather its graceful motion, fluid navigation of complicated environments, and downright dominating dance moves. (It’s got me beat on all those fronts.)
Here are the stats on the latest robot, Handle, courtesy of Boston Dynamics‘ newly released video:
Handle is a research robot that stands 6.5 ft tall, travels at 9 mph and jumps 4 feet vertically. It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge. Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles found in the quadruped and biped robots we build, but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex. Wheels are efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs Handle can have the best of both worlds.
Some folks in the video’s comment section are quick to jump to a nightmare vision of an army of Handles all outfitted with automatic weapons. I much prefer The Verge‘s take on humanity’s future alongside these highly advanced robots. They envision a world in which these graceful golems entertain us with their synchronized ice skating routines. Now isn’t that a lovely thought?
Would you like to dance with Handle in the pale moonlight, or would you rather resign this robot to the scrap heap? Let us know in the comments!