In 2019, Boston Dynamics will finally sell a smaller version of its creepy but popular Big Dog quadruped robot, which is called the SpotMini.
The Softbank-owned company started work on the machine back when it was still helmed by Alphabet Inc. (Google's parent company). It recently had a chance to show off what it could do during TechCrunch's Robotics conference at UC Berkeley.
From Concept To Commercial
Industry analysts were reportedly surprised to hear that the company opted to commercial with its technology. The four-legged robot reportedly weighs an estimated 66 pounds. When upright, its frame stands close to waist-level compared to a human.
Most people will immediately notice the similarities it shares with its bigger brother Spot. Almost everybody can recall that the original spend most of its time getting kicked around by the engineers and developers. In fact, the video even drew sympathy from the masses, which is probably due to it being shaped like a dog.
Other than the size and weight, the compact version is capable of all of the nuances that the original can do. Some even joked that it might end up like its predecessor and just bullied around.
Status Of Development
According to Boston Dynamics, the current prototype showcased during the conference and featured in videos will last an estimated 90 minutes on a single charge. The company currently owns 10 SpotMini prototypes and plan to manufacture at least 100 more this year.
Marc Raibert, president and cofounder of the tech firm confirms that the company will work closely with its partners to meet the targets.
"That's prelude to getting into a higher rate of production," he explained.
Features And Intended Functions
To move around a designated space, the robot relies on an array of cameras and sensors that are mounted around the frame. There is one up front, another at the back, and two on each of its flanks. SpotMini uses the data from the cameras and its AI to avoid obstacles.
Furthermore, it can navigate up and down the stairs and other irregular terrains where wheeled-robots cannot go. Together with an optional arm, which folds on top and humorously looks like its head, it could hold and keep an object steady while the body moves around, just like a stabilizer for a camera.
Price And Other Robots
Other than SpotMini, Boston Dynamics also flaunted its progress with Atlas, its human-shaped bi-pedal robot. Some of its latest demonstrations show the machine performs various gymnastic feats and even a backflip.
According to Raibert, the company received requests to create a machine similar to the latter that could carry wheelchair-bound people on a hike through the wilderness. Unfortunately, the tech firm's focus is currently occupied by its latest products. The price for the four-legged robot has yet to be announced, but consumers should expect that it is not going to be cheap.