Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics Previews Latest ‘Nightmare-Inducing’ Robot

BOSTON (CBS SF) — The founder of Alphabet’s robot development company Boston Dynamics revealed new video of another creation that leaked Tuesday, showing a wheeled automaton that goes by the name “Handle.”

The clip of company founder Marc Raibert reportedly making a presentation to investors was posted to YouTube by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson on January 31.

In the clip at about the 3:45 mark, Raibert introduces the new creation by saying, “Everybody thinks we only do legged robots. Nobody has seen this. You guys are the first.”

The video shows the new robot, called Handle by Raibert, rolling on two wheels connected by an axle. The body and limbs of Handle appeared similar to Boston Dynamics’ earlier quadrupedal robots LS3 and Big Dog, but with wheels attached to the lower appendages. Raibert said the robot got its name because it is supposed to handle objects.

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Raibert seems to take a cue from some of the stories that had been written about the companies other creations in the past year, describing Handle as “a nightmare-inducing robot” as the audience chuckles.

Raibert said Handle was “much more efficient than a legged robot” and would be cheaper to produce than the bipedal Atlas robots that were featured in several viral videos last year.

The video showed Handle demonstrating it’s dynamic balancing capabilities, spinning in place on its wheels and even rolling up to a bar and hopping over it.

Raibert concluded his presentation with an onstage visit from one of the company’s quadrupedal  robots.

In March of last year, there were reports that Google parent company Alphabet Inc. may be looking to unload robotics arm Boston Dynamics.

According to a story published on Bloomberg.com, Alphabet Inc. executives have decided that the likelihood of the robotics company turning a profit in the near future was unlikely given that it will be at least several years before the company is manufacturing a marketable product.

The fact that Raibert was reportedly making his presentation to potential investors on Tuesday could be an indication that the company is still on the market.

There was no information on the Boston Dynamics website about the new Handle model of wheeled robots.

 

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