Boston Dynamics’ Handle robot dominates parkour on wheels in new footage

Boston Dynamics’ wheeled Handle robot received much fanfare earlier this month when DFJ partner Steve Jurvetson slipped us an early video from a company Keynote. Today we have more details on Handle in the form of a shiny HD video.

We already knew Handle could manage some pretty sick hurdles and spins, but the new video shows us how the robot can operate in tough environments — on hills, in the snow and over uneven terrain. It’s able to do this with a height of 6.5 feet that surpasses that of most humans. On wheels, it can move at a chipper nine mph and manage four-foot vertical jumps. If you’re wondering, the highest human jump ever recorded is 5.3 feet. (Take that Handle!)

Once charged up on electric power, Handle can travel about 15 miles. It’s equipped with both electric and hydraulic actuators. Though the robot is just for research and development purposes, it hints at a future where Boston Dynamics might prioritize function over form. The wheeled robot is more efficient than its legged peers — trading anthropomorphism for something that could actually be used to move boxes around a factory floor.

To this point, Handle only has 10 actuated joints. This makes for a simpler design and likely easier production if Handle, or a version of it, was ever to be produced at scale. But all economics aside, Handle is damn fun to watch.