We first saw Boston Dynamics’ Handle robot rolling about and balancing like a boss back in 2017. Now, the robot has been reimagined as a “mobile manipulation robot designed for logistics.” All I know is that this robot looks like trouble. It’s huge, inspired by a bird and carries boxes.
“Handle autonomously performs mixed SKU pallet building and depalletizing after initialization and localizing against the pallets. The on-board vision system on Handle tracks the marked pallets for navigation and finds individual boxes for grasping and placing.” In other words, it carries boxes to and fro as it complains about all of these Amazon orders.
It is actually pretty good at its job, since it uses force control to nestle each box up against its neighbors perfectly. This version of Handle can carry boxes up to 33 pounds using a powerful vacuum system, and works with pallets that are 1.2 m deep and 1.7 m tall (appx. 48″ deep and 68″ tall).
This robot has a creepy shape and a creepy way of moving. Very bird-like indeed. You can see two of them working in the warehouse in the video and that makes them seem even creepier. I’m pretty sure they killed the last human worker so they could fill those palettes themselves. I say we give these robots some feathers just so they look sillier. Go ahead, picture them with feathers. It’s fun.