Boston Dynamics, one of Google’s robotic science divisions, has released footage of a robot it’s calling Handle.
BD founder Marc Raibert’s first comment when Handle came on the screen was:
“This is the debut of uh, what I think will be a nightmare-inducing robot.”
Here are a couple of highlights. See if you agree with Raibert.
Look! No cables!
And decent speed, too.
The balance is impressive, but Handle then took it up a notch.
The wow moment
There’s some hope for technophobes in that last GIF where they might have noticed a bit fell off after the jump.
For everyone else, it’s an escalation on that video last year where Boston’s Atlas showed us how it will start revolutionising workforces by cutting the need for humans, and doing a better job:
Reportedly, the negative fallout from that footage caused a ruction between Boston Dynamics and Google, possibly causing Boston to be spun back out of Google’s Replicant division and left standing alone as a potential takeover target.
“There’s excitement from the tech press, but we’re also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs,” Courtney Hohne, a director of communications at Google, wrote as the video went viral.
Raibert told the crowd that Handle was an experiment in making Atlas affordable.
“It can carry a reasonably heavy load on a small footprint and it’s basically an exercise in seeing if we can do something like the humanoid that has less degrees of freedom but eventually could be less expensive but still have significant capability,” he said.
You can watch the full demonstration below, filmed by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson. Raibert first runs through some of Boston Dynamics’ earlier prototypes, including Atlas, and SpotMini.