This article was published on February 28, 2017

Boston Dynamics’ new robot can jump 4 ft, lift 100 lbs, and skate on 2 wheels

Boston Dynamics’ new robot can jump 4 ft, lift 100 lbs, and skate on 2 wheels
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

If you’re looking for the robot to lead the machine uprising, look no further than Handle. After seeing how Boston Dynamics treats robots, it might be time to alter its approach with the team’s newest creation.

Handle’s not going to put up with this sort of bullshit.

Handle is, for all intents and purposes, the robot world’s version of an elite athlete. This 6.5-foot beast is capable of skating along on two wheels at nine miles-per-hour, lifting 100 pounds, and jumping up to four-feet. The average human, for comparison, runs approximately 15 miles per hour, but slows considerably over distance. The guy with the hockey stick? He’s not going to outrun Handle after a mile or two. Handle, on a full charge, can maintain its pace for about 15 miles.

An attitude adjustment may be in order.

The footage is impressive, and it shows Boston Dynamics’ new creation leaping over tables, easily navigating stairs, and pulling some impressive 360-degree turns with its nimble new legs. Hell, it even manages to handle uneven terrain, snow, and ice — that’s far better than most tech reporters.

Unlike Atlas, another Boston Dynamics creation, Handle is also relatively simple in terms of design. All told, the machine features just 10 motorized joints. This is mostly due to the new form, which is a departure from some of the company’s more human-like creations.

Hopefully it hints at a future where Boston Dynamics skips anthropomorphism for utility, thus driving the cost of its impressive creations down. Once that happens, Handle could be destined for a job at an Amazon-like fulfillment center — it seems like an obvious fit.

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