Meet Spot's cousin. It's not shaped like a dog, but it has a very capable, extra-long arm with a "smart gripper."
Boston Dynamics is known for Spot, the charming robot dog. The company's newest robot probably can't jump rope, but Stretch can handle boxes with its long tentacle complete with mind-boggling suction cups.
The company calls Stretch its "first commercial robot specifically designed for warehouse facilities and distribution centers." Stretch's "smart gripper" on the end of its arm is particularly intriguing. It can grab boxes from the top or the side, which gives it the ability to unload trucks and load pallets.
Boston Dynamics released a video on Monday of Stretch prototypes showing off their box-moving skills. Spot even makes a cameo appearance near the beginning.
Stretch's base is small enough to fit anywhere a pallet does. The robot is still in development, and Boston Dynamics is looking for customers to test it. The company aims to release Stretch commercially in 2022 and hasn't yet revealed a price tag.
"Stretch combines Boston Dynamics' advancements in mobility, perception and manipulation to tackle the most challenging, injury-prone case-handling tasks, and we're excited to see it put to work," Boston Dynamics CEO Robert Playter said Monday in a statement.
Stretch looks to be a practical addition to Boston Dynamics' robotic lineup, of which the versatile Spot is the star. The company's humanoid Atlas robot is also showy but is actually more of a tech and research demo than the sort of bot you may actually work with someday.