Boston Dynamics finally released the official video that showcases Handle, the wheel-legged robot that can flex and balance on any surface. Handle combines its wheels and its intelligent stabilization system to be able to walk on any surface including snow and stairs. Boston Dynamics says that this new robot is actually more efficient than legged robots.
Handle can flex its joints and balance its parts' weight, making it quite a stable machine for carrying heavy loads. As per Digital Trends' report, this wheel-legged robot also costs less to build than any of Boston Dynamics' legged robots. With that said, wheel-legged robots like Handle can practically beat humanoids when it comes to efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Nevertheless, there's one thing that the likes of Handle cannot be proud of, and it's probably their not-so-appealing physical looks.
Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert was even among the first to drop some humorous comments about Handle. The CEO described the wheeled robot as "nightmare-inducing". Undoubtedly, the CEO is right. In the video, Handle takes an object in a manner that looks like it is carrying it from behind, which in some perspective, looks a bit off. The robot's ability to have one of its leg pass through an upward ramp while the other rolls on a flat surface didn't help make it look less terrifying either. Nevertheless, despite the fact that Handle is far from being adorable appearance-wise, it can do exactly what it has been designed to do.
Additional details about the new robot reveal that it uses electricity to operate its electric and hydraulic actuators. It then has a range of approximately 15 miles on a single charge. Boston Dynamics shared that Handle also uses the same dynamics that are found in the company's quadruped and biped robots. However, the wheel-legged robot only has around 10 actuated joints. Boston Dynamic says that Handle is considerably "less complex". The company also gives credit to the robot's wheels-and-legs combo that allows Handle to enjoy the best of both worlds.