Google-owned firm's new 'nightmare-inducing' Handle and 5 other cool robots

From left: Boston Dynamics' hybrid creation Handle, Suidobashi Heavy Industry's rideable mech Kuratas and Sharp's part-robot, part-smartphone RoBoHon.
From left: Boston Dynamics' hybrid creation Handle, Suidobashi Heavy Industry's rideable mech Kuratas and Sharp's part-robot, part-smartphone RoBoHon. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

It can walk on two or four legs, jump up to 1.2m and traverse all kinds of terrain.

Google-owned firm Boston Dynamics' impressive new robot, Handle, has been branded "nightmare-inducing" by its own creator.

Here's a look at five other robots that have caused a stir and generated headlines for what they can do.

1. Kuratas

This one is for the mecha fans - the world's first "giant boarding robot" by Japanese firm Suidobashi Heavy Industry made quite the splash when it made its appearance in 2012.

The 4m-tall, 4,500kg robot, which runs on four wheels, allows for a single operator in its body, while it can also be controlled externally by remote control.

Its weapons load includes a BB gatling gun capable of discharging 6,000 rounds a minute.

Kuratas was put up for sale on Amazon Japan for US$1.35 million (S$1.9 million), and was last heard to be in line for a duel with the MK II, a rival rideable robot created by US firm MegaBots inc.

2. Asimo

Short for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, Asimo was first introduced in October 2000 and billed as the world's most advanced humanoid robot.

It was developed by Japanese automobile-maker Honda to be a multi-functional mobile assistant, with the aim of helping people who lack full mobility and to encourage the study of science and mathematics.

The newest model, which was unveiled last year at the Auto Expo, weighs 54kg and stands at 130cm. It can perform a number of tasks - including running, climbing stairs and grasping objects - and hold simple conversations in English, Japanese and Mandarin.

There are reportedly plans to deploy them at train stations and commercial buildings in Japan by 2020 to guide foreign tourists.

If you are looking to buy one, be prepared to shell out at least US$2.5 million.

3. Cheetah and WildCat

Boston Dynamics first unveiled Cheetah - funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - in 2012, which it billed as the fastest legged robot in the world.

It clocked speeds surpassing 46kmh while running on a tether.

The untethered version, WildCat, debuted a year later and can gallop at a still impressive 26kmh.

Imagine what a platoon of super fast WildCats can do on the battlefield.

4. RoBoHon

A smartphone disguised as a robot, the Sharp-produced RoBoHon went on sale in Japan in May last year.

The cute, pint-sized robot is voice-controlled and sports a small touchscreen on its back for more complicated tasks.

It can walk, move, help read messages and comes equipped with a head-mounted projector that can display images and videos onto walls and other surfaces.

The price tag? A not-so-adorable US$1,800.

5. Pepper


An employee of sushi restaurant Hamazushi looks at a touchscreen set up on Pepper during a press preview in Saitama on Feb 2, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

The humanoid robot, which was released by Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank in 2015, is capable of reading human emotions and learn from its interactions with people.

All 1,000 units were reportedly sold out in one minute when it was put for sale at 198,000 yen (S$2,460) each.

Pepper is currently used by businesses such as restaurants to receive customers, and last week held its first ever fashion show in Tokyo that called for designers to create outfits for the robot.

Sources: The  Verge, Digital Trends, Engadget