Boston Dynamics has unveiled the first robot that does not mimic humans or animals. The device can move heavy boxes.
The company introduced the Stretch robot – a device, unlike other robots, does not look like people or animals. The device is propelled by a square movable base with a set of wheels, the device has a “perception mast” with cameras and other sensors, as well as a huge robotic arm with seven degrees of support and several suction cups that can move boxes weighing up to 23 kg.
The researchers noted that typically when installing automation equipment in warehouses, the system is bolted to a specific location and a workflow is simulated around it. Stretch can move to any workspace for loading or unloading goods.
“Here’s what’s interesting about the new system: It can provide automation in environments where there is no automated infrastructure,” said Michael Perry, vice president of business development at Boston Dynamics. “Therefore, you have the ability to move the robot to the back of a truck, any aisle or next to conveyors.”
The company noted that the new robot will help them target customers who would otherwise avoid automation as being too expensive or difficult to integrate. According to their statistics, about 80% of the world’s warehouses do not have automation equipment. It is not yet known how much the Stretch will cost.
Boston Dynamics has shown an interest in logistics since 2019, when it acquired Kinema Systems, which makes vision software for robots in warehouses. She then developed a robot on wheels called Handle, which can move boxes using a robotic arm.