Boston Dynamics has been wowing us all with their robotic creations for quite some time now. Recently they posted a video of their Spotmini pulling a truck across their parking lot. They have also introduced robots that are capable of jumping, running, and even performing acrobatic stunts. The company has again released a video and taken us all by surprise with its pair of birdlike robots that are busy stacking cardboard boxes in a warehouse.
You can see the birdlike robots moving on wheels while they lift, move, and eventually place the boxes with uncanny grace and precision. These birdlike robots are guided via machine vision and can manage boxes that weigh up to 33 pounds according to the caption of the video. The boxes that are being moved in the video weigh around 11 pounds.
The featured robots are based on ‘Handle’. For those of you who don’t know, Handle was a research robot that was featured in a video by Boston Dynamics back in 2017. It had appendages similar to arms apart from wheels. The revised Handle, however, doesn’t have appendages. It has a jointed nick that has been tipped with a proboscis-like mechanism for gripping.
Howie Choset, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon, said, ‘The logistics business is quite thirsty for robots right now, as evidenced by the influx of many companies entering the space. I think a particular benefit that the Boston Dynamics robot offers is that you can carry a heavy object with a relatively light mobile base.’
Kate Darling is a research specialist at the MIT Media Lab and stated that ‘it is too expensive to be commercially useful in a warehouse setting. But I like the balance, the onboard vision system (that presumably lets it navigate a variety of different warehouse settings) and the fact that it looks like an ostrich.’ You can check out the birdlike robots in action below!