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Alphabet X Showcases New Bipedal Robot That Can Climb Stairs And Overcome Obstacles

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Alphabet X, the company's experimental technology lab, recently showcased its bipedal robot that has the capability to climb stairs and overcome hurdles.

SCHAFT, which is part of Alphabet's X and popular for winning a DARPA robotics challenge, showed off this robot during the keynote speech of former Android head Andy Rubin at the New Economic Summit (NEST) 2016 in Japan.

In 2013, the company acquired SCHAFT as part of the company's bid to penetrate the field of robotics. Originated from the University of Tokyo's JSK Robotics Laboratory, SCHAFT is among the robot companies owned by Alphabet.

With regard to its capability, this bipedal robot has the capability to climb stairs, balance on a pipe and navigate on challenging terrains, such as rocky areas, snow and more.

In a video uploaded by someone in the audience during the said event, and shared by IEEE Spectrum, the robot is seen balancing a load of food while passing through a stadium. It is even captured walking on a pebbly beach.

Moreover, this robot can likewise clean the stairs with the use of its spinning brush and its vacuum placed on its feet.

What are lacking, though, are the robot's arms to support it once it falls down.

An X spokesperson told IEEE Spectrum that the presentation was only a mere technical demonstration and not an official announcement for the product (yet).

"[It] wasn't a product announcement or indication of a specific product roadmap," said the spokesperson. "The team was simply delighted to have a chance to show them latest progress."

This means that it may still take a while, perhaps a few more years, before this robot officially hits the market.

At the moment, not much is known about SCHAFT's robot. It is apparent, though, that the company is trying to address a variety of real-world problems.

Just last month, we reported that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, put Boston Dynamics up for sale, suggesting that it is not happy with this robotic subsidiary. Reportedly, the company believes that it will not be capable of producing considerable revenue.

Until we learn more about that, hit the play button below to get a glimpse of this SCHAFT bipedal robot.


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