Following on from the viral success of the dog that opened doors and went downstairs, the robotics company Boston Dynamics has now released a video of a model which can run with eerie similarity to a human. Boston Robotics is a pioneer in the robotics field and one of the most advanced in the area.
In a video that's as entertaining as it is unnerving, we first see November's SpotMini approach a closed door. The video's title Hey buddy, can you give me a hand? hints heavily at what's coming, with the latest SpotMini appearing in shot with that extendable appendage.
Its other projects include Spot, a dog-like robot; Handle, a robot with legs and wheels, which can pick up heavy loads and manoeuvre over tough terrain; and WildCat, the world's fastest robot on four legs. But it's not just the arm that impresses, it's also the incredibly fluid and lifelike movement of the SpotMini. "There's a lot of factors that make this successful as a product, and we're working on all of those".
Considered Boston Dynamics' "quietest robot" yet, SpotMini can carry a 30-pound payload while operating up to 90 minutes on a single charge. The SpotMini robots are expected to be used for security patrols or in construction companies to keep tabs on what's happening at building sites. Already, the company says that it has contracted manufacturers to build 100 SpotMinis later in 2018, and will then scale production so that they can sell units beginning next year.
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There is no word yet on pricing.
The video below shows how the SpotMini can autonomously navigate a specified route through an office and lab facility.
The robot's main frame has a quick-disconnect battery, stereo cameras in the front, side cameras and a "butt cam", but it can also be upgraded with a series of attachments on the top, including an articulated arm.