Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Intelligent Machines

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.

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”)

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.