Robotics

Boston Dynamics gives SpotMini robot a sleek restyling

Boston Dynamics gives SpotMini...
The latest SpotMini is sleeker than the previous variant
The latest SpotMini is sleeker than the previous variant
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The latest SpotMini is sleeker than the previous variant
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The latest SpotMini is sleeker than the previous variant
The previous SpotMini with manipulator arm
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The previous SpotMini with manipulator arm

Boston Dynamics has released a 24-second teaser of its latest SpotMini robot that is sleeker and more agile than any of the company's previous creations. The streamlined quadruped is clad in a sleek yellow casing and lacks the somewhat creepy giraffe's neck and sheep's head manipulator of the previous SpotMini unveiled in 2016, and sports some smooth moves that are uncannily lifelike.

Boston Dynamics, now a subsidiary of Japanese telecom firm SoftBank, presented the new SpotMini to the public in its characteristic low-key fashion. The brief YouTube video shows the streamlined robot trotting onto the screen, making a very canine play crouch as it seems to inspect the camera, before trotting around the corner with the caption "Coming soon" fading in.

Other than this, there was no additional information released, though the resemblance between the new SpotMini and the previous generation is obvious, except for the removal of the manipulator arm. If this is a more refined version with better mechanics and algorithms, there don't seem to be any radical redesigns. Based on the earlier mark, the SpotMini should stand around 84 cm (33 in) high and weigh about 30 kg (66 lb) and have an autonomous battery source, electric actuators, 3D vision, and 17 joints.

The previous SpotMini with manipulator arm
The previous SpotMini with manipulator arm

Whether it can handle banana peels and unsympathetic coworkers with as much grace as its elder sibling (pictured above) remains to be seen, however.

The video below shows the new SpotMini taking its first bow.

Source: Boston Dynamics

The New Spot

9 comments
Benji
Give it a white paint job and a cute voice and it'd be from Aperture Laboratories.
MerlinGuy
If the intent was to creep people out, Bravo!
guzmanchinky
Amazing and terrifying in equal measure! :)
alec baldwin
Same old Creepy Robot as before.. just with a different paint job... why don't these guys get it that a 4 legged headless monster is not the way to push robotics... how some yellow panels change that... I don't know. Tech is great but these guys screw it up with the UX :-)
Rossasaurus
Time for citizens to develop robot-defeating countermeasures. Who owns Boston Dynamics now? Google/Alphabet sold it correct? Do we really believe these will be used for last-mile deliveries from Amazon? More likely intrusive and threatening purposes since they will remain somewhat expensive, affordable mostly by government, law enforcement, for crowd intimidation and control. The video tells us who it will be marketed to...it's WATCHING YOU!
Rossasaurus
Answer: Google-owner Alphabet Inc. has agreed to sell robotics firm Boston Dynamics to SoftBank, the Japanese telecommunications and technology company. Hopeful Note: Owner/Director of Softbank is a noted humanitarian and caring fellow. Less Hopeful Note: Japan is an aging society and a robotic military might be answer to their demographic challenges.
rseifer
Well, I really like it a lot, but does it understand the infield fly rule?? Ralph L. Seifer, Long Beach, California.
Daishi
I've been saying for 20 years that robots with legs is good science fiction but bad engineering and for 20 years people have insisted I'm wrong. Now their expensive toy dog is an expensive yellow toy dog. What is the application? They are 25 years into their R&D without a released product that does anything. Do they have something considered useful on the roadmap in the next 5 years? 10? By what measure is that considered successful?
Gregg Eshelman
Now it's ready to be the Hound robot in a "Fahrenheit 451" movie.