We knew this day was coming but who knew it would be so soon. Robotics company Boston Dynamics is making their SpotMini robot, a headless dog-like quadruped, commercially available before the end of 2019. Initially though, you’re probably not going to be able to afford one.
Most recently, we saw SpotMini navigating hallways all on its own and it’s that skill (and others) that will see the robotic dog wandering around homes and businesses in the near future. Boston Dynamics has said that the 30kg robot was originally designed to be “…something that could go in an office or accessible place for businesses purposes, or a home eventually.” Which might explain why it’s going on sale next year.
SpotMini is capable of roaming around in autonomous and semi-autonomous modes for up to 90 minutes at a time, which is more than enough to let the robot act as a very versatile sentry. Its arrangement of cameras, which are mounted on all sides, allow SpotMini to get around without bumping into things and also turn the critter into quite the guard dog. We already know that the robot is able to open doors, meaning that it could check individual rooms in locations where it is on patrol. The arm needed for this is one of the upgrades SpotMini will feature when it launches, allowing for a range of applications.
Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert said of a configuration the company is developing internally: “We have a surveillance package where we have special low-light cameras mounted on the back, there’s a camera mounted in the arm, and the computer can take user code”. This arrangement will let you have SpotMini wandering around a factory or a building site to keep an eye out for intruders and will also let you tailor some functions to spec. Not that you’d need to do much, its presence alone should prove a terrifying experience for intruders who bump into it at 2AM. We just want to know if you can make SpotMini bark and sprint…
The first lot of applications will be industrial in nature, making us suspect that the as yet undisclosed price for the robot is going to put it out of reach of the average home, at least at first. Make no mistake though, it’s coming to homes eventually. Boston Dynamics’ parent company is Softbank, which already sells a range of robots. Their little humanoid, Pepper, was a guest at the 2017 Stuff Gadget Awards, presenting a few of the awards handed out on the evening.
Source: via The Guardian