BOSTON DYNAMICS MAY be the closest we have to real-life Transformers, even if they currently don't spend an awful lot of time saving the world. But the latest in the line of 'collect 'em all robots' may be the most underwhelming yet, unless the Earth one day has to contend with a super villain that fills the streets with oversized boxes.
This guy is probably one to watch on that score.
But we digress.
This is Handle. What makes Handle happy in life is moving boxes weighing up to 33 pounds from one stack to another around 12 feet away. Looking a bit like one of those nodding bird toys, Handle scoots around on two wheels before homing in on a box and lifting it with its crane-like neck.
It even shows fine form in its pickups, remembering to lift with the knees and not the back. That's fine advice to avoid robo back pain later in life.
Don't get us wrong, it's technically very impressive, but it's just not the kind of thing we like seeing our animalistic robots doing. We like watching them smugly doing backflips and wilfully stand up to hockey-stick beat downs. We don't like watching them move a small pile of parcels from one side of the room to another, especially when it doesn't look like they're doing it much faster than a sturdy human could do.
True, humans require payment, sandwiches and a steady supply of soft drinks to work through a pile that size, but they're also able to cope with the unexpected chaos of warehouses in a way that Handle probably isn't. We can't help but notice that this is an exceptionally clean and empty building, so who knows how it would deal with people milling around, stray cables and the like?
Sorry Handle: it's a no from us. µ
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