Boston Dynamics has a new YouTube video showing off its newest robot design. This one is a reimagining of the "Handle" robot that the company originally showed off in 2017. Back then the robot could jump four feet in the air and do all kinds of tricks; now its purpose is to load pallets.
Back in 2017 Handle was the company's first public "wheel-legged" robot—that is, the robot is a bipedal design that stands on two legs, but instead of feet at the bottom, the design opts for a set of wheels. Boston Dynamics described the design decision on its website, saying "Wheels are fast and efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs, Handle has the best of both worlds." Wheel legs allowed the original Handle design to have a roughly human form factor (albeit with backward knees) and a top speed of 9 MPH, just by rolling its wheel feet.
The new Handle is no longer humanoid. While it still has wheel-legs with backward-bending knees, it's now more bird-like than human. The two arms have been replaced with a single arm mounted at the top of the bot, making it look like a long neck. The original Handle's top-heavy design has been changed, and now a lot of the robot's mass lives in a large, wildly swinging rear (butt? tail?) that acts a counterweight as the robot lifts things and moves around.