Advanced Pet Robot from Boston Dynamics

Robotic puppy

Tekno, a close relative of Spot Mini

BEACON TRANSCRIPT – New footage released by Boston Dynamics introduces SpotMini,  a smaller cousin of the quadruped Spot Robot, roaming freely in a household environment.The advanced pet robot proves it’s useful by loading a dishwasher.

This little mechanical engineering wonder looks like a strange four-legged creature. Instead of the head and neck, it’s got a robotic arm, helpful for handling objects,  carrying or fetching them. The video reveals the robot’s clumsy side as well: it can sometimes get overly attached to objects, and it isn’t always easy for it to walk around.

All in all, it looks like a crossbreed between a toddler, a large dog and the maid robot we’ve been looking for.

According to the producing company, Spot Mini weighs 55 lbs (or 65 lbs, arm included). This is an electricity powered machine, which doesn’t use hydraulics. Depending on the activity, it runs for about 90 minutes per charge.

The advanced pet robot boasts a variety of sensors, such as a solid state gyro, proprioception sensors in its’ limbs, and depth cameras. These sensors help the robot orientate and use objects. Spot Mini is one of the quietest robots made by this company, however judging from the presentation video it still looks a bit noisy.

It can perform autonomous tasks, but if you do want the job done, you need to guide it around, just like you would do to a pet. The footage also shows the robot falling over, and it doesn’t seem to remember picking up the banana skin which caused it to fall. Google bought the Boston Dynamics company in 2013.

However,  the parent company Alphabet figured out that big robots such as Atlas would not generate revenue, and they’ve decided to try their luck with smaller creations. Could this be an attempt to mass market a robotic product?

The advanced pet robot is still receiving improvements, so it is expected that future models will be quieter and smarter. Other Boston Dynamics robots include sturdier, heavier bots like BigDog or the LS3Alpha Dog. The BigDog could throw things, run at a speed of 4 miles/hour and keep its’ balance in mud, snow or rubble. LS3 Alpha Dog is a rough space robot designed to go wherever a soldier would, following its’ leader through the use of computer vision and GPS.

Image Source – Wikipedia