Robotics

Boston Dynamics gives Spot the robot a job

Boston Dynamics gives Spot the...
Spot is equipped with an arm/neck for making close inspections
Spot is equipped with an arm/neck for making close inspections
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Spot navigating a building site
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Spot navigating a building site
Spot handling a corridor
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Spot handling a corridor
Spot descending stairs
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Spot descending stairs
Spot is equipped with an arm/neck for making close inspections
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Spot is equipped with an arm/neck for making close inspections
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Not content with mastering parkour, Boston Dynamics is putting one of its advanced robots to "work" for the first time. In a YouTube video released by the company, the latest version of its Spot quadruped robot starts its new job demonstrating its ability to carry out on-the-spot inspections of building sites in Japan.

The way that Boston Dynamics' robots have evolved has been both intriguing and slightly alarming. Last week, the company's bipedal Atlas showed off its gymnastic abilities and now Spot is hitting the construction sites. A descendant of the BigDog and Wildcat robots, the electrically-powered Spot is much smaller and sleeker than its predecessors, with a streamlined design that allows it to handle human environments.

Spot Robot Testing at Construction Sites

The video shows two versions of Spot working at the Takenaka Corporation and Fujita Corporation building sites in Japan. At the former, the robot was equipped with the disturbing arm/neck featured on previous Boston Dynamics robots. This one seemed to be equipped with a camera or some other sensor protected by a clamshell hand/mouth for closer inspections of features. The latter had no arms, but carried a glowing plastic box on its back. On the tail of each is what looks like a complex cone in a protective cage that seems to be some sort of navigation apparatus.

Spot descending stairs
Spot descending stairs

The video shows the robot strutting around the sites like a determined dog, stopping occasionally to inspect installations. Because Spot is equipped with sensors fore and aft, it negotiated stairwells and narrow corridors by simply reversing when there wasn't room to turn around.

Though the company, as usual, is light on details, construction sites seem a logical place for such testing and demonstrations, playing into a robots strengths but still providing ample opportunity to show off the its ability to adapt to challenging environments and new situations.

The company says that Spot robot will be available in the second half of next year for a variety of applications.

Source: Boston Dynamics

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4 comments
BrianK56
Boston is moving right along, should be interesting to see what they have in 2019.
Username
What's with the incessant calls of "alarming" and "disturbing" always found in these articles. Are the authors technophobic or trying to cater to an audience of luddites? Whether it be fear, ignorance or stupidity, when one caters to something, one inevitably promotes it.
Rustin Lee Haase
I'm guessing they are working on operation dynamics and software and don't care much about noise just yet but this thing is going to be orders of magnitude more scary when they figure out how to make it silent. 🦊
dougspair
So...Big Dog has puppies...?