Over the last year Boston Dynamics has shown several interesting robots, including the bipedal Atlas and the dog-like Spot. Now the company, which is owned by Alphabet (aka the Google parent company), shows off something else entirely.
Meet Handle, a new robot research project that combines both wheels and legs. It's impressive to watch how fast and versatile the robot is, and how it keeps its balance even when it's pushed to extremes. Handle stands 1.98 meter tall, reaches a speed of up to 14.5km/h, can jump 1.2 meter vertically and can lift 45kg heavy crates with ease. Boston Dynamics says Handle can move up to 24 kilometers on a single battery charge.
Handle is a research robot that stands 6.5 ft tall, travels at 9 mph and jumps 4 feet vertically. It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge. Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles found in the quadruped and biped robots we build, but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex. Wheels are efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs Handle can have the best of both worlds.