Remember Boston Dynamics’ Spot? The robotic ‘dog’ that refuses to be kicked over? Well, it has a junior now. Obviously, it can’t actually give birth to one, but the roboticists over at Boston Dynamics has created a smaller, fully electrical-powered version that’s quieter which makes it more suited as a pet. Wait, I mean to say, for indoor use. SpotMini looks pretty much like Spot and has the same locomotion, and it is, obviously, smaller. In fact, it tips the scale at just 55 lbs, or 65 lbs with the arm. Speaking of arm, we are okay with SpotMini roaming around, but the arm just creeps me out. The arm extends out from its back and when it does so, SpotMini is not longer cute; it looks like some kind of abomination: a dog’s body with a what? A mutated Giraffe neck and head that bends? Yikes. And the toy eyes the roboticists stick there didn’t help make it less creepy.
SpotMini is equipped with a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro and proprioception sensors in the limbs, to help it navigate around and basically, moves and an onboard battery affords it to function for around 90 minutes on a single charge. SpotMini is able to execute simple tasks autonomously, but for more complex tasks, human guidance is necessary. So what SpotMini can do? It can bring you a drink, clear the table of plates to the sink and such – all using its creepy head/arm hybrid. I wish the engineers would remove the creepy decorative eyes. They gives me the chill. Creepiness aside, with such level of sophistication, SpotMini may one day be tweaked to become a guide dog for the visually impaired, or become a pet that doubles as your butler of sort. Just maybe. Continue forth for a video to catch SpotMini in action.
Screengrab via YouTube video.