The company’s head of warehouse, Kevin Blankespoor, discusses the journey to Stretch

Boston Dynamics is a strange fit for a show like ProMat. For decades, the firm has presented a flashy image to the world — a company well known for robotic highlight reels, from the snow-traversing Big Dog to parkour-performing Atlas. But a recent approach has found it facing one of its biggest challenges to date: commercialization.

As anyone in hardware (robotics especially) will happily tell you, bringing products to market presents an entirely new set of challenges, namely: repeatability, robustness and reliability. Making a robot work for long enough to shoot a viral video is one thing. Having that robot perform tens of thousands of tasks around the clock is a different thing entirely.