By: Andario Strange
Google recently put up its Boston Dynamics robotics unit up for sale, but that doesn’t mean that the company is getting out of the automaton business.
The small robot is shown walking in a number of situations that can be challenging even for humans, including a sandy beach, a rocky terrain, snow, and a steep, narrow staircase.
At one point during the demonstration video (top of page), we even see how the robot handles random, rolling obstacles thrown under its “feet.” Spoiler: It handles the surprise instability better than many humans might.
The video also shows off how the robot can handle uneven terrain while carrying heavy loads, indicating that this could be the precursor to the human labor replacement robot some have been anticipating in recent years.
Sure, we already have robots that build our cars, manage inventory in factories and evenconstruct our homes. But this is the kind of robot that could, for example, carry a bag of groceries for a person. That kind of humanoid assistant-level worker robot replacement could have huge impacts in the future.
Schaft’s robot doesn’t have a name yet, but fans of Japanese manga and anime will recognize the name from the fictional Schaft Enterprises in the ’80s Patlabor series devoted to a future in which police use humanoid robots to combat crime.