Skip to Content

Boston Dynamics Has a New “Nightmare-Inducing” Robot

The makers of some of the world’s most impressive robots usually develop machines that walk—adding wheels has resulted in something fast, and frightening.
February 1, 2017

Say hello to Handle, the latest robot to be developed by the Google-owned Boston Dynamics. But unlike its siblings, Handle doesn’t walk: it rolls.

Gizmodo reports that the robot was shown to investors at a presentation given by Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert. While it hasn't been officially announced by the company, one attendee posted his recording of the video to YouTube.

Usually, robots made by Boston Dynamics roam on two or four legs. This one, however, has wheels at the end of its two limbs. It’s a complex engineering problem, staying upright on two wheels like that, and Raibert says that the robot is constantly shifting weight to stay balanced. Unlike its brethren, that means it's not great at tackling rough ground. But it makes up for that with speed—oh, and it can jump, too. 

Raibert calls it “a nightmare-inducing robot,” and like many of Boston Dynamics's creations, it is a bit frightening. But the company appears to have a useful purpose for it in mind. The video shows it handling a series of different, heavy objects in warehouse-like situations. There, of course, its inability to handle rough terrain wouldn’t matter, as it could glide across smooth concrete floors, reaching up to high shelves along the way. And, perhaps, occasionally scare people out of their wits.

(Read more: Gizmodo, “This Robot Crosses Rough Ground Like a Human Does,” “The Latest Boston Dynamics Creation Escapes the Lab, Roams the Snowy Woods,” “The Robots Running This Way”)

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Rendering of Waterfront Toronto project
Rendering of Waterfront Toronto project

Toronto wants to kill the smart city forever

The city wants to get right what Sidewalk Labs got so wrong.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.