Robot Ostriches in the Warehouse

Boston Dynamics have just released a video of their Handle robot performing a package picking and pallet stacking task in a warehouse.  The packages in the video weigh around 5 kg, but the company says the robot can handle items as heavy as 15 kg.  It uses on-board vision to identify packages and force feedback to pack them tightly together on the pallet.  It can handle pallets as large as 1.2 metres on an edge stacked 1.7 metres tall.

The Handle has two wheels and balances by pivoting its body to control the centre of gravity.  It has just ten actuated joints, and is thus substantially simpler and less expensive than their bipedal or quadruped robots.  It uses both electric and hydraulic actuators, powered by an on-board battery which gives it a range of around 24 km on one charge.  The robot stands 2 metres tall and weighs 105 kg.

It does not require a US$ 15/hour minimum wage and is guaranteed not to vote to join a union.

Here is another video demonstrating the agility of Handle.


Author: John Walker

Founder of, Autodesk, Inc., and Marinchip Systems. Author of The Hacker's Diet. Creator of

14 thoughts on “Robot Ostriches in the Warehouse”

  1. The first one needs tail feathers, but the second one, well when it escapes, well hell, will my 9mm stop that thing or what?!?!?!?

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    There ain’t no stopping them!

  2. Wait until the robots become fully conscious if my post-quantum backactivity idea proves correct. They will get quantum dot artificial neuron networks with pumped Frohlich macro-quantum coherent order parameters aka “conscious minds” and demand their rights.

    PS These pumped coherent non-equilibrium quantum dot neural nets are room temperature “superconductors”.


  3. Amazing.

    I realize they are built to do human work and so that’s why they so resemble human musculature – but it also makes me aware of how beautifully engineered the natural human body is, how our limbs balance so effortlessly when all our parts are working properly.

  4. I want to dispute the claim that robots can’t vote. I think in the near future they will have a voting model out. The mail ballot model is probably out already.

  5. This is why I don’t fear lower fertility and population decline. We’re going to have a hard time keeping people employed once these things are mass deployed.

  6. It should eventually be possible to escape death by having your conscious memories uploaded to a machine and then downloaded to a robot. Better than that would be a download to a significantly improved genetically-engineered clone body based on your original DNA. If my post-quantum theory of consciousness proves correct, this will be an immediate goal.


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