Boston Dynamics Unveils Its Latest "Nightmare-Inducing" Robot

Tyler Durden's picture

One year ago, when we showed readers the SkyNet-like robots produced by Boston Dynamics, a company acquired by Google in 2013 (which then tried to flip it to Toyota last year but reportedly failed)  we called the robotic creations "terrifying." Little did we know that compared to Boston Dynamics' next spawn, that particular batch was downright Johnny 5-friendly by comparison. Because after being briefly shown off at an event early this month, the robotic designed has officially revealed its latest creation, “Handle,” which the company’s founder previously described as “nightmare-inducing."

Four weeks ago, Boston Dynamics - which is best known for its bipedal and quadrupedal robots - revealed it had been experimenting with some radical new tech: the wheel. The company named its new wheeled, upright robot is named Handle (“because it’s supposed to handle objects”) and looks like a cross between a Segway and the two-legged Atlas bot according to the Verge. Handle, which had not been officially unviled yet, was shown off by company founder Marc Raibert in a presentation to investors. Footage of the presentation was uploaded to YouTube by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson.

Creating a more efficient robot that can, pardon the pun, handle basic tasks like moving objects around a warehouse would certainly be of benefit for Boston Dynamics. Although the company has consistently wowed the public with its robots, it’s struggled to produce a commercial product that’s ready for the real world. That may soon change.

Raibert described Handle as an “experiment in combining wheels with legs, with a very dynamic system that is balancing itself all the time and has a lot of knowledge of how to throw its weight around.” He added that using wheels is more efficient than legs, although there’s obviously a trade-off in terms of maneuvering over uneven ground.

“This is the debut presentation of what I think will be a nightmare-inducing robot,” said Raibert.

He wasn't kidding: as the video below reveals, Handle is officially about 6 foot 5, weights about 100lbs, and can roll around at around 9 mph, while preserving perfect balance and even engaging in complex aerial acrobatics: Handle can keep its balance over rough terrain, and can even jump 4 feet in the air, as well as going down stairs without an issue.

While we are confident Amazon will promptly order a few thousands of these to bring even more streamline automation and efficiency to its behemoth warehouses while putting countless part-time workers out of work, we don't know if to dread or yearn for the moment when RoboHandle emerges in a quiet patrol of your neighborhood street, armed and ready to use lethal force, and gradually replacing the local police force around the country.

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junction's picture

Reame the robot "Hillary" and give it the number 666.

So Close's picture

Fearing the inevitable is not wise.

in4mayshun's picture

Until it can defend itself from my truck backing over it, i'll sleep soundly...

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) in4mayshun Feb 27, 2017 9:36 PM

But can it go back UP the stairs?


tmosley's picture

Nightmare inducing? It's a mark I Tachikoma. Give it a "cute girl" voice and an AI that keeps turning sentient no matter how many times it gets wiped and you'll have a robo-BFF.

Dane Bramage's picture

Mount a sentry gun and 220lbs belt-fed ammo on it.  :-)   & now I need to perfect my Thermite drone delivery system!!

FireBrander's picture

When it was backing into that parking lot, would have been so cool if a truck had run it over.

BaBaBouy's picture

Multiply this Tech 10X (Within 1 year) and we gots something REALLY REALLY Scary...

Attach a Gun, Knife, Hammer???

What was that Borg Thingy? "Resistance is Futile, YOU will be Assimilated" ...

Uchtdorf's picture

There is no reason either to limit it to just two arm-like appendages. Give it 8 and then you've got a robotic Swiss Army Knife.

TahoeBilly2012's picture

Hey folks FYI going to need .50 cal to knock out any of these machine, also lotsa of webbing and netting. I think this will be the final fight against these things, so get ready.

SixIsNinE's picture

team of young punks with baseball bats would make quick work of this thing ;

try it out in Palestine and we'll talk.



steve2241's picture

"Taser-ize" it!  That'll keep 'em at a distance.  And for extra special situations, implant a poison-gas canister.

Mr 9x19's picture

ok, remember : BOSTON DYNAMICS....IS....SKYNET

PTR's picture

I'll still take the ED209 over this.  


But at least this can go down stairs.

PT's picture

How well does it handle slippery floors?  It looked like it was doing okay but I have seen what happens to a Segway encountering a slippery floor in real life.  Lots of fun if you are not the rider.

Then again, this thing has bendy legs and so it can shift its weight without using wheels only.  Does that mean they have solved that one?

But the real question everyone is asking is, has it figured out how to pick strawberries yet?

Chupacabra-322's picture

Can it stop:

1. Bullets

2. Molotov Cocktsils

3. IED's

Didn't think so....

Mr 9x19's picture

 balistic plate, external aspect,  hermetic armor and thermal protection, self extinguish module,faraday metalic cage aspect over body zone to protect electronics, i cant wait the martin lockheed version.

hoyeru's picture
hoyeru (not verified) tmosley Feb 27, 2017 11:32 PM

nice to know somebody else on ZH who has been versed in recent pop entertainment!

exi1ed0ne's picture

I would hardly call a franchise that's been around since the 90's recent pop entertainment.  Now pardon me - I have to go recharge my waifu.

CRM114's picture

I would guess so. It's not too hard to program, but it probably doesn't look very elegant, so they skipped that bit.

Head_Shots_Work's picture

When it's carrying a rocket launcher and 10,000 rounds of 7.62 ammo your sleep will be interrupted. Coming soon to a local sheriff's office near you.

Consuelo's picture





- Fearing the natural progression of technological advancement, wholly in the pursuit of service to mankind, is unwise.

- Fearing the nefarious use of said technological advancement in order to secure an ideological end is quite wise indeed. 

Overfed's picture

You can bet your ass down to the last zit and hair that the tech will be used nefariously in order to secure an idealogical end. Fucking count on it.

Beg, borrow, or steal all of the tungsten core ammo that you can.

jmack's picture

hang a couple of tube socks off it, so you know which side is the front...

nightwish's picture

Mount a rotating turret on that fucker and send it into chicagos west side


drendebe10's picture

Hi yo robot Silver, Away!

Takeaction2's picture
Takeaction2 (not verified) junction Feb 28, 2017 12:18 AM

WE NEED AN ARMED SQUADRON OF THESE sent to CHICAGO NOW.....can you imagine the "Dindus" seeing an army of these.....??

PT's picture

Yeah. I see an army of these jacked onto bricks with, along with other parts, their wheels missing.


Dancing Disraeli's picture

And ALL the copper wiring will be stripped.

PT's picture

How could I forget????  You win!

Saucy-Jack's picture

I want robot ballet in the next olympics!

Bigly's picture


Could do a triple toe loop most likely.

Skynet by 2030 for sure

True Blue's picture

But can it do a 'triple Lindy'?

I think I'll go long on moats making a landscaping comeback.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Maybe Trump can use these robots to replace the police when he invades states that voted to legalize pot.  His private prison owners could also use them as guards to increase their profits after the private prisons fill up with State-legal pot salesmen.

Taint Boil's picture

Here are some real robots (Toluca, Mexico) that Taint Boil himself worked on ..... even a Mexican can be replaced.


Note: Robots are in a "Dry Cycle" no car / parts are present.

SixIsNinE's picture

cool -

they look like electric eels waiting for prey


blindman's picture

these fuckers have already been armed with
nukes and deployed up in my business.
that is why i hate the world of creative

skbull44's picture

Can't we replace our politicians instead of the part-time workers?


techpriest's picture

Here, I coded a robot politician for you:

def political_decision(policy, **kwargs):
  if (kwargs['lobbyist_cash'] > my_price or kwargs['lobbyist_pizza'] == True):
    if 'lobbyist_order' in kwargs:
      return vote(kwargs['lobbyist_order'])
      return vote(guess_lobbyist_desire())
    if money_for_my_interests(policy_question):
      return vote('This is a commonsense law!')
      return party_line_vote(policy)

freedogger's picture

That'll work great until it chokes on the GIL Not bad for a prototype though.

The Old Man's picture

"we don't know if to dread or yearn for the moment when RoboHandle emerges in a quiet patrol of your neighborhood street, armed and ready to use lethal force, and gradually replacing the local police force around the country."


Really!? And shooting the wheels off does what exactly?


The Old Man

TheEndIsNear's picture

Slows it down, because then it has to go into its single point failure recovery mode and begin walking on the stumps of its "legs" instead of using its wheels. By that time however, it would have already targeted and terminated the wheel shooter. Much better to aim for its CPU instead of wheels.

Korogaro's picture

I was expecting the robot to turn around and crush the guy with the hockey stick. He would have deserved it.

blindman's picture

does creating a new age require destruction of all that came before? it is just sad, the strong dominance of idiocy at the core of the human context; body, heart, mind and spirit. is there something to learn here?

Xena fobe's picture

So cute.  I want one. 

divingengineer's picture

When will terrorists start using robots?

Wee_littte_dogee's picture

This is exactly the type of research one would expect to come out of labs in a country on the brink of default and societal collapse. As far as making a difference in struggling families lives this abomination is developed with nothing more in mind than weaponization. Peak bankruptcy on so many levels it is scary.