Boston Dynamics, the former Alphabet company behind the most advanced and terrifying robots currently being developed, recently showcased a new capability on an existing robot. SpotMini, a four-legged robot that resembles a dog without a head, can now open doors.
A mechanical appendage was added to the robot where its head should be. With little trouble, it was able to open the door.
Boston Dynamics is still technically owned by Alphabet, Google's parent company, but is in the process of being sold to Softbank. Boston Dynamics has been able to capture more human movement for its robots. Back in November, it showed off another one of its robots doing a backflip, comfortably sticking the landing.
The latest video that Boston Dynamics released shows the first robot coming to a stop when it comes across a door. Shortly after, another Spotmini comes to its aid.
This model is sporting a large robotic arm where its head is supposed to be. With only a minimum amount of adjusting, the SpotMini is able to position itself to open the door. First it lets the other robot in, then follows it to the other side shortly.
There aren't many details about what's going on behind the scenes of the video. Someone could be controlling the SpotMini's movements or it may have been programmed to assist the other model to get to the other side of the door. It still isn't clear how autonomous the robots are at this point.
Previously another Boston Dynamics robot broke the internet when in another video released by the company, the robot could jump and do a backflip. This more humanoid appearance is complimented by the more human-like movements that it can achieve.
Boston Dynamics is reportedly developing some of these robots for the U.S. military. It receives funding from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).
Reactions To SpotMini
Twitter usually knows how to respond to news without overreacting. Under news articles showing the advanced capabilities of the SpotMini, people began to notice its similarities with Metalhead from Black Mirror. The creator of the series, Charlie Brooker, says that the inspiration for the robot came from Boston Dynamics' creations.
Ummm... pic.twitter.com/XNti0a70sh — Mitchell Schuster (@TJ_Schoost) February 13, 2018
There were also comparisons to Terminator, where robots start killing the human race.
So creepy...where’s T2? — nico campi (@nicocampi039) February 13, 2018
Panic aside, there were people that were unimpressed. They point out that the robot was able to master a door handle, not a door knob, which may prove to be more difficult for the robots to open.
I would argue that it is in fact a door handle, a door knob is round, and somewhat sphere-like. Much more difficult and very common. — Dominic Buchan (@DHB1983) February 13, 2018