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Episode 336: Boston Dynamics

Perhaps you know Boston Dynamics from their viral videos of dancing robot dogs or their humanoid robot that moves with human-like agility. Did you know they developed a robotic solution to automate container unloading? On this episode of The New Warehouse Podcast, Nicolas De Keijser, Director of Sales at Boston Dynamics, shares how their robotic solutions perform undesirable tasks in environments that can be unsafe for humans. Be sure to listen to find out how and why Boston Dynamics took on the pesky problem of container unloading.

Key Takeaways

  • Boston Dynamics is an engineering and robotics design company that has gained worldwide fame through viral videos. Nicolas adds they are primarily known for their development of three different products. Spot is the robot dog used in several industries for inspections, creating digital twins, and security. Atlas is a humanoid robot that is nothing short of amazing with its dynamic movement and human-like agility. Lastly, Stretch is a purpose-built mobile robot for the warehouse and logistics industry.
  • Nicolas explains how Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert also started the leg lab at MIT. He adds that leg movement opens up many capabilities in specific environments compared to wheeled movement. However, as the Stretch robot developed, the team at Boston Dynamics learned that neither legs nor wheels built for speed were necessary and that a stable platform was the best fit for moving and sorting boxes with Stretch.
  • Kevin and Nicolas discuss the challenge of implementing robotics for container and trailer unloading. This type of work is laborious for humans, strenuous, and can be monotonous, which makes this task ideal for automation—realizing that no containers in the world use automation for unloading made solving this problem more attractive. However, the variability of this task has been a barrier to a robotic solution. With the ability to operate in tight spaces, Stretch can go from one container to the next and unload boxes quickly. Nicolas shares the evolution of Spot at Boston Dynamics and how they ultimately solved the unique challenge of container unloading.
The New Warehouse Podcast

EP 336: Boston Dynamics