Seven of the world's creepiest robots coming out of Boston Robotics

August 26, 2018

Seven of the world's creepiest robots coming out of Boston Robotics

The immobile monolith attracted much social media derision, with one Facebook wag writing: "Someone please give Kalashnikov a link to Boston Dynamics", referring to the American engineering company behind Cheetah, a four foot robot than runs faster than Usain Bolt.

So what exactly is being invented in those secretive Boston laboratories?


Spot Mini 

Height: 84cm, Weight: 30kg, Joints: 17. 
This nimble little robot handles objects, climbs stairs and will operate in offices, homes and outdoors. It's the quietest robodog in the pack. Operates for up to 90 minutes between charges and has a 'butt' cam. Interesting. Goes on sale next year and is Boston Dynamics's first commercial robot in its 26 year history. Price?  Undisclosed, but it's essentially being marketed as a security guard. Definitely can't make a cup of tea. 

Atlas 

Height: 1.5m, Weight: 75kg, Joints: 28 
Apparently the world's most "dynamic humanoid" and looks not unlike a Star Wars Stormtrooper. Stereo vision and a battery of sensors makes it easy to lollop across rough terrain as seen here. Keeps its balance when jostled or pushed and can get up if it tips over. But 28 joints? Pah! We humans have more than 200. Although this backflip is pretty impressive. 

Handle 

Height: 2m, Weight: 105kg,  Joints: 10 
Looking like a headless horse doing a wheely, this six foot robot rumbles happily over rough terrain on its wheels and can pick up heavy loads while occupying a small footprint. A good warehouse worker, perhaps? Proficient jumper too. Should you need a jumping robot. Srsly. 

LS3 

Height: 1.7m Weight: 590Kg, Joints: 12 
This lumbering robotic quadruped  was designed to be a bag carrier for the US Marines Corps. At least 182kg of gear. Automatically follows its leader using computer vision and uses terrain sensing, obstacle avoidance and GPS to get to where it needs to go. Clever. 

Wildcat 

Height: 1.17m, Weight: 154kg, Joints: 14 
This guy runs at 32 km/h, making it the world's fastest free running quadruped robot. Its system was first developed on Cheetah, a laboratory prototype that ran 48 km/h, faster than Usain Bolt. Wildcat is powered by a methanol burning engine and is super noisy. Commercial use: Scaring people witless? 

BigDog 

Height: 1m  Weight: 109kg  Joints: 16
Meet the first legged robot to leave the lab and take on the real world. BigDog runs at 10 kmh, climbs slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, climbs muddy hiking trails, walks in snow and water, and carries up to 150kg. Part funded by the US army, it would be hopeless in undercover ops as it sounds like ten screaming lawnmowers.

RHex

Height: 14cm, Weight: 12kg, Joints: 6
A freaky looking six-legged waterproof robot that loves a bit of rough terrain. Front and rear-facing cameras give the operator a remote view of RHex's surroundings. A perfect spy and yet another army sponsored gizmo.