Google's Alphabet has a new walking robot that wouldn't look out of place in Interstellar or science-fiction homes of the future. The reportedly as-yet-unnamed robot was shown off at the New Economic Summit in Tokyo by Alphabet-owned Japanese robotics company Schaft. It has a very different design to Alphabet's other robots made by Boston Dynamics, with a compact two-leg design and central body that can be moved up or down to cope with different tasks. Unlike Alphabet's larger bipedal robots designed either to interact in a human-like fashion with the world - the humanoid Atlas - or to be a robotic packhorse for the US military or dog's plaything, the Schaft robot is designed to be lower cost, lower power and be used by civilians, carrying up to 60kg over uneven terrain and stairs. The robot was demonstrated dealing with unsure footing, compensating for standing on a moving pipe in one instance and walking on shingle in another.
There's a new bot in town (Tokyo, specifically), and while it might not be as cute as Nao, as creepy as Spot and BigDog or as anthropomorphic as Atlas, it might be more practical than all of them. It walks on two legs, but not like a man, or even a bear. This one, designed by Alphabet-owned Schaft Inc., has its own uniquely robotic form of locomotion. A video then played showing robots like the one on stage, but different -- but all with a few things in common. Most important has to be the walking system.
Although Google is selling Boston Dynamics to distance itself from "terrifying" humanoid robots, there's still plenty of robot projects underway. SCHAFT, a Tokyo-based robotics company run by Google's parent company Alphabet, presented the bipedal robot at the New Economic Summit in Japan. SCHAFT is best know as the winner of the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge that put it on the map. There aren't too many details on the robot yet, except that it can carry up to 132 pounds and can tackle uneven terrain. But it's nice to be in the snow once in a while too.
SCHAFT, a Tokyo-based robotics company run by Google's parent company Alphabet, presented the bipedal robot at the New Economic Summit in Japan. SCHAFT is best know as the winner of the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge that put it on the map. There aren't too many details on the robot yet, except that it can carry up to 132 pounds and can tackle uneven terrain.
These strange-looking, two-legged robots might be the predecessor of a machine that someday helps with chores around the home. The bipedal bot, which has yet to be named, was developed by Schaft, a Japanese robotics company that is part of X, the research lab owned by Alphabet (previously Google). It was revealed at an event in Japan hosted by Andy Rubin, who started Google's robotics project before leaving the company at the end of 2014 to create his own hardware incubator. A video shot by someone at the event shows the robot carrying a heavy-looking gym weight, slipping on a tube without falling over, and cleaning a set of stairs with a vacuum cleaner brush attachment on its feet. It can also be seen walking through a forest and along a rocky beach.