Boston Dynamics has a new addition to its impressive robot lineup: a legged humanoid that balances on two wheels. The robot, named “Handle” according to leaked footage, is wickedly impressive. Shown in a presentation given by Boston Dynamics’ founder Marc Raibert, Handle can glide across floors, hop over obstacles, and, of course, balance its body impeccably. The deft robot boasts a similar design to Atlas but sports a pair of wheels instead of articulated feet. A bit like a Segway.
Handle is hot off the press. There’s no word on how long the two-wheeled robot’s been in development, but if the leaked footage recorded by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson is any indication, it’s that Boston Dynamics does not mess around. Handle is untethered, swapping out cumbersome power cables for a self-contained power supply. The robot moves swiftly and is probably the closest thing to a real-life Decepticon to date. Handle balances well on two wheels, even outdoors, but seems mostly capable on smoother surfaces, unlike its four-legged and outdoors-friendly cousin, Spot. It’s said that Handle is more efficient with the wheeled design, capable of lifting heavy loads with a small footprint.
The idea with Handle is to build a less expensive but still very capable robot. For those pondering on the name choice, Handle is designed to eventually handle objects. Maybe not as comical as SpotMini though.