The engineers over at Boston Dynamics have a rich history of releasing fantastic viral videos of the super-advanced bipedal and quadrupedal robots they're developing in their Massachusetts lab. These uploads tend to storm the internet for a day or so, flip everyone out, then generate a wave of response videos and memes. It's a nice little digital ecosystem.
The latest video of one of their robots didn't come from their press office, though. It was filmed during a private investor presentation and uploaded to YouTube by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, who attended the event. It might be the most eye-popping footage yet.
The new bot, named Handle, actually uses a combination of wheels and legs to perform some pretty impressive moves. Two-wheeled and vaguely humanoid, it's startlingly fast and has the ability to jump over obstacles while maintaining momentum. The robot is really quite graceful. As it glides over surfaces in both indoor and outdoor scenes, it evokes the movement of a figure skater.
More than likely, however, the wheeled robot will be assigned a life of manual labor. As both the video and the name suggest, the robot appears to be designed for moving around boxes and payloads in an automated warehouse setting.
(Jump to the 3:45-minute mark to see the new robot.)