Like a creepy robot apocalypse film, Boston Dynamics Handle Robot from two years ago has evolved (thankfully, not on its own!). In the original, it was a biped on wheels and had a pair of arms, but now, it has been reimagined into a strange-looking animal-like robot that retains the biped with two wheels configuration, but it now lower limbs with backward-bending knees like the so many hideous monsters depicted in sci-fi horror movies had.
In addition, it now has a balanced body that resembles an ostrich or emu, as opposed to an upright torso, and it has a moving counterweight to the rear to keep the balance in check. Instead of two upper limbs, has just one lone arm that appears to double as its ‘head’, much like the original SpotMini with a mutated Giraffe neck. The good thing is, the new Boston Dynamics Handle Robot is not designed for anything sinister; it is designed with logistics in mind.
Here’s what it does:
“Handle is a mobile manipulation robot designed for logistics. Handle autonomously performs mixed SKU pallet building and depalletizing after initialization and localizing against the pallets. The on-board vision system on Handle tracks the marked pallets for navigation and finds individual boxes for grasping and placing… When Handle places a boxes onto a pallet, it uses force control to nestle each box up against its neighbors.”
Aided by an onboard vision system located at its neck/arm hybrid and a set of vacuum suction cups, Boston Dynamics Handle Robot for Logistics can easily handle boxes up to 15 kilograms or 33 lbs, and work with pallets that are 1.2 meters (48 inches) deep and 1.7 meters (68 inches) tall. However in the video, the pair was handling boxes that weigh around 5 kilograms (11 lbs). There are, of course, more science and technology to it, including the use of force control to enable the robots to nestle the boxes without nudging the neighboring box over.
As you can in the video, which you can find after the post, Boston Dynamics Handle Robot for Logistics movements are fluid and the pair was able to execute their tasks smoothy and with incredible precision. Well, warehouse workers, it definitely looks like your job isn’t safe as you thought it would be. If you know what I mean.
Images: YouTube (Boston Dynamics).