Quadrupedal robot-maker Boston Dynamics has shown off its latest dystopian creature in a video published to YouTube (unbeknownst to its parent company, Google, apparently).
Boston Dynamics is the robotics company Google is currently trying to sell, and according to Recode, Google was unaware of the company's last robot video from February. Google might not have known about this new video either. A source familiar with Google's robotics team told Recode that Google is partially trying to sell Boston Dynamics because of how difficult it is to manage a "gaggle of roboticists."
Anyway, Boston Dynamic's latest hellhound is called SpotMini. It's a smaller version of the Spot robot dog. It weighs about 55 lbs (25 kg), is 2 feet tall, and has an electric system instead of hydraulics, meaning it's quiet and lasts for up to 90 minutes before needing a recharge. It also has a complex navigation setup with guidance and perception sensors, including depth cameras and a solid state gyro in the limbs.
SpotMini can perform some basic tasks autonomously, but it can also use a human for high-level guidance. It has a manipulator arm, too, for accomplishing tasks. SpotMini uses this arm (it looks like an elongated neck) to gently pick up a glass and put it in the dishwasher, for instance. In the video below, you can actually see SpotMini fetch a soda for a human, but it had a little trouble letting the can go.
This mechanical beast is undoubtedly adorable but also creepy-looking. That said, we can already envision a world in the future where tonnes of these robot dogs roam around and do all our chores.
We just hope they're a little more cuddly by that time.