Robots are getting more human-like by the minute, but soon they might also be a lot more athletic.
Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson shared footage from a recent Boston Dynamics presentation, where founder Marc Raibert unveiled an impressive new robot that replaces standard feet with a pair of Segway-like wheels.
Much like its previous inventions, the Google-owned robo-developer has packed the machine, called Handle, with cutting-edge hardware and software that enables it to carefully balance out its weight according to the terrain as well as its own speed and movements.
While unlike its previous Atlas robot that has the capacity to effortlessly stride across uneven surfaces, the Handle appears to be designed for smoother areas – though it seems it can roll through grass without any significant hiccups.
Raibert explains the Handle is “much more efficient” than a robot with traditionally styled feet and has the capacity to carry a “reasonably heavy load.” The inventor also mentioned that the wheel design should bring down the cost of manufacturing..
Boston Dynamics also took a moment to moment to flex the robot’s athleticism, showing a brief clip in which you can see the Handle perform a beautifully executed jump over a barricade.
The presentation also teased a demo of the company’s new four-legged Harmony robot, which appears to build upon Boston Dynamics’ previously showcased Spot robot concept. Using a programming approach known as sequential composition, the Harmony supports a wide range of movements and capabilities, which allows it to walk in a series of different gaits.
Check out the rest of the presentation in the video section above.
Published February 1, 2017 — 10:18 UTC