Boston Dynamics in Material Handling
While you may know of Boston Dynamics (bostondynamics.com) from the videos showing the robotic animals that are so bizarre as to provide nightmares of a dystopian future where Fido has given way to a mechatronic Cujo, the company actually makes equipment that can be used for material handling operations.
For example, there’s Handle, a mobile robot that combines legs and wheels so that it can maneuver throughout tight spaces (even within trucks). It can handle boxes weighing up to 15 kg.
And then there is the Pick system, which the company describes as “the world’s first deep-learning based solution designed for robotic depalletizing,” a system that is fitted to a conventional industrial robot (it is not a brand-specific system) and through the use of optical sensors and processors, it is said to be capable of maximizing box picking times within an operation.
Pick comes out of Kinema Systems, a Menlo Park-based company that Boston Dynamics announced last month that it has acquired.
According to Boston Dynamics Founder and CEO Marc Raibert. “Beyond being a powerful tool for industrial robotic arms, Kinema technology will help our mobile manipulation robots tackle a wide variety of complex real-world tasks.”
And yes, “development continues on Handle.”