Back in April, Boston Dynamics showed off its latest robot, Atlas, which can pick up and move objects of various sizes and weights. But it turns out the company is already working on a new prototype, dubbed “Stretch,” that can also pick up boxes.
About Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics is one of the world’s leading robotics companies, known for developing technologies that the military uses to plan and carry out operations, including the famous Atlas, BigDog, and Petman robots. The company has also produced its own line of robots, including the SpotMini, a coffee-table-sized robot that uses sensors to avoid falling into furniture. The ATLAS is a quadruped robot that moves like a human, can climb stairs, jump over obstacles, and walk through different terrains. Boston Dynamics’ newest product, the Stretch, is a box-shaped robot that uses its limbs to pick up and stack boxes in warehouses and retail stores.
Boston Dynamics is mostly known for its bipedal, self-balancing robots that can walk up the stairs and even run faster than a human. However, the company has a long history of designing machines that are able to perform a variety of tasks, such as the ones showcased at the recent DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials.
‘Stretch’ The Box Lifting Robot
It is a box-style robot that is designed for construction site use. This is a great example of a robotics company that is working to make robots more generally useful for a variety of jobs rather than exclusively for military use. The company’s work shows that it is possible to create super-strong robots that can lift extremely heavy objects — in this case, a box — and that can use their end effectors to perform repetitive tasks. This gets to the heart of the debate about the usefulness of these robots for general use.
“Stretch” is a humanoid robot that can lift o 220 pounds (99.79 kilogram), walk at 1.2 miles per hour (1.93 kilometers per hour), use its hands, and carry objects up to 4 feet (1.22 meters) long by 3 feet (0.91 meters) wide.
The robot’s name comes from the fact that it can stretch its arms out to grab objects, and it is powered by two electric motors that allow it to move its limbs when needed. What’s more, the robot also walks with a pair of legs in the middle of its frame.
Instead of using his own muscles, the robot uses the muscles of the human ‘operator.’ Other videos in the series have shown a robot that runs on four legs and a robot that can jump over a table.
The new robot has an incredibly long reach—it can lift objects that weigh up to 220 pounds (99.79 kilogram), and without breaking stride, it can walk up to 13 feet (3.96 meters) per second. Despite its odd appearance, the robot is not nearly as creepy as its name—Stretch is actually a bipedal robot that uses a series of interconnected springs to propel itself forward. My favorite part of the robot, though, is the ability to fold itself into a box-like structure, whether used as a carry case or stored away in a warehouse or shipping container.
The bot is designed to lift heavy objects through the use of a telescoping arm that can move in either direction. The robot’s feet also feature a pair of dual-clutch steering wheels that can be shifted backward and forward depending on the object’s weight or balance.
The robot has a pretty simple objective: pick up one box, carry it around, and place it down on the ground.
With a name like “Stretch” and a picture of a box with a rope draped over it, it’s no wonder Boston Dynamics grabbed headlines with their latest robot. The “Stretch” is actually a box-loading robot that can be used to pick up and carry heavy loads. The team worked on a creature that can walk up and pick up any object that weighs up to 300 pounds (136.08 kilogram). The robot has four legs, and each leg has a series of motors and sensors that allow it to walk over uneven terrain.
With robotics increasingly overtaking the world, it’s hard to imagine a time when robots were too expensive to build and too dangerous to use, but that’s exactly the predicament we find ourselves in today. There’s no denying it: robots are becoming more and more lifelike, and we should be scared.