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Boston Dynamics Handle Robot Shows How Fun Stacking Boxes Can Be

Warehouse worker is not exactly the first thing that comes to the human mind when thinking about a future career. Low pay aside, it’s dull, physically straining work, with few rewarding moments. But robots seem to love it, and they can even make a spectacle out of stacking boxes.
Boston Dynamics Handle holding a box 5 photos
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Boston Dynamics, one of the premier organizations when it comes to coming up with weirdly-shaped robots of questionable use, showed the world this week just how soothing can be to watch an animal-like robot by the name of Handle work in a warehouse.

Handle was designed by Boston Dynamics as a “mobile manipulation robot designed for logistics.” It is two meters high, it can lift packages weighing 45 kg (99 lbs.) and features 10 actuated joints that allow it to move not unlike Jurassic World’s Blue.

The video published on Thursday by Boston Dynamics shows an evolution of the original Handle that can autonomously perform SKU pallet building and depalletizing.

Using an onboard vision system, the robot tracks the pallets from which it is supposed to pick up the boxes and, using what appears to be a suction nozzle, picks them up (each weighing 5 kg, or 11 lbs) and either stacks them nicely one on top of another or places them on a conveyor.

“Handle is a robot that combines the rough-terrain capability of legs with the efficiency of wheel,” says Boston Dynamics about this robot.

“Wheels are fast and efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs, Handle has the best of both worlds.“

Handle is perhaps the less scary robot Boston Dynamics is working on. The famous SpotMini – which will probably start selling as soon as this year - has a surreal ability to accept abuse, while the Atlas is already at a point when it can perform parkour.


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