Boston Dynamics Plans to Start Selling Their Robot Dog 'SpotMini' Next Year

Saturday, 12 May 2018 - 2:53PM
Technology
Robotics
Saturday, 12 May 2018 - 2:53PM
Boston Dynamics Plans to Start Selling Their Robot Dog 'SpotMini' Next Year
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YouTube/Boston Dynamics
In some ways, SpotMini is just like a regular dog, if your dog was made of metal and had an attachable claw arm that fit onto its back. 

SpotMini is an advanced four-legged robot from Boston Dynamics, who's made quite a name for themselves over the years by posting videos of their robots running around, autonomously following instructions while often being cruelly hit with sticks to determine how well they can handle obstacles. Just introduced last year, SpotMini is a newer improvement over their previous robotic dog, Spot.

And very soon, it might be possible to "adopt" a SpotMini. While speaking at a TechCrunch event this weekend, Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert announced that 100 SpotMinis will be built for commercial purposes, and should be going on sale by 2019.

If the robot doesn't scare you, then this is great news. It has scared some people though, as Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker specifically based the killer robots from the black and white episode "Metalhead" on SpotMini.



Only ten prototypes exist currently, so there isn't a firm release date and there's no official price tag either. It's tough to imagine these things will come cheap, since previous displays of SpotMini make it seem fairly advanced in the realm of robotics and artificial intelligence. 

What's always been most impressive about Boston Dynamics robots is how they can autonomously navigate around (and sometimes over) obstacles, and SpotMini has become very skilled at walking around indoors and outdoors, turning corners and walking up and down stairs all by itself upon simply hearing the word "go". It can move around for up to 90 minutes on a single charge.

Raibert went into more detail at the event, saying the following - although didn't elaborate on how specifically he sees SpotMini as a helpful thing to have running around a business:

Opening quote
"The SpotMini robot is one that was motivated by thinking about what could go in an office - in a space more accessible for business applications - and then, the home eventually."
Closing quote


So long as they don't turn against humans, there's probably nothing to worry about. But if you do find a SpotMini navigating around your work one day, it's a good idea to brush up on that Black Mirror episode just in case.


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