Boston Dynamics' latest Spot robot can recharge itself
Boston Dynamics has expanded the capabilities of its dog-like Spot robot, introducing new remote control software, a new robotic arm attachment and an entirely new version that can recharge itself. These skills are hoped to further expand the appeal of these agile four-legged robots, which are taking on jobs in all kinds of areas around the globe.
The newly unveiled version of Spot with self-charging capabilities is named Enterprise Spot, and comes with a purpose-built dock. The robot is able to detect the dock and crouch down on top of it to assume the charging position when its batteries are in need of a top up, either through programming or a return home button on the accompanying tablet interface.
This dock also allows Spot Enterprise to upload data collected throughout its mission via an Ethernet connection. In addition, Boston Dynamics has upgraded the hardware for this version of Spot, which it says offers greater safety, communications capability and allows it to operate autonomously across a greater range.
Boston Dynamics has also introduced new web-based software called Scout, which enables operators to control the robot virtually. This could mean initiating pre-programmed autonomous missions or manually controlling the robot as it goes about its business.
Back in 2018, we saw Boston Dynamics demonstrate a manipulator arm attachment for Spot that worked with onboard sensors to open a doorway for a fellow robot. The newly launched, 4K-camera-equipped Spot Arm is a customer-ready version of this technology, allowing owners to have their robot grasp, lift and carry a variety of objects, pull levers, open valves and turn handles and knobs to open doors.
Since Boston Dynamics opened up sales for Spot in September of 2019, we've seen the robot given all sorts of jobs, including herding sheep in New Zealand, scanning Ford factories for retooling, inspecting construction sites in London and helping protect frontline healthcare workers from COVID-19. Boston Dynamics says more than 400 Spots are now out in the world plying their trade, and hopes these new features will only broaden their appeal.
“Since first launching Spot, we have worked closely with our customers to identify how the robot could best support their mission critical applications,” says Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. “Our customers want reliable data collection in remote, hazardous, and dynamic worksites. We developed the new Spot products with these needs in mind, and with the goal of making it easy to regularly and remotely perform critical inspections, improving safety and operations.”
You can check out the promo video for Spot Enterprise below
Source: Boston Dynamics