It could be the most advanced robot dog ever created.
Boston Dynamics, best known for Atlas, its 5 foot 9 humanoid robot, has revealed a new ‘lightweight’ version of its robot MiniSpot.
The robotic canine is shown trotting around a yard, with the promise that more information from the notoriously secretive firm is ‘coming soon’.
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The robotic canine is shown trotting around a yard, with the promise that more information from the notoriously secretive firm, recently bought by SoftBank, is ‘coming soon’.
‘SpotMini is a small four-legged robot that comfortably fits in an office or home’ the firm says on its website.
It weighs 25 kg, 30 kg if you include a robotic arm.
SpotMini is all-electric and can go for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing, the firm says, boasting ‘SpotMini is the quietest robot we have built.’
SpotMini was first unveiled in 2016, and a previous version of the mini version of spot with a strange extendable neck has been shown off helping around the house.
In the firm’s previous video, the robot is shown walking out of the firm’s HQ and into what appears to be a home.
There, it helps load a dishwasher and carries a can to the trash.
It also at one point encounters a dropped banana skin and falls dramatically – but uses its extendable neck to push itself back up.
Previous versions have used hydraulics, which are loud.
Previous versions of the robot have an extendable neck and was shown helping around the house
‘SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we have ever built, the firm says, due to its electric motors.
‘It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs.
‘These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation.
‘SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance.’
Google acquired Boston Dynamics in late 2013 along with several other robotics firms, in a deal set up by Andy Rubin, the former head of the Android division, who left the company in October 2014.
It is believed the firm was too focused on long term project to fit in to Google.
Leaked emails also show PR staff at the search giant were concerned that the humanoid robots would put the firm in a bad light if they were shown to be able to replace humans in some jobs.
The robot is shown helping around a house, putting empty cans in the trash and even putting a glass in a dishwasher.
In another scene in the video, the robot is shown falling on a banana skin – and getting back up.
The firm’s latest version of its humanoid robot – can now get up easily on its own if it falls.
The Atlas robot was widely derided at the recent ‘robolympics’ after falling repeatedly and needing a crane to get up.
However, the new wireless version is shown being pushed over by an employee – and simply getting back up.
Boston Dynamics said the video showed ‘a new version of Atlas, designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings.
‘It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated,’ the secretive firm said.
Meet the family: The new SpotMini (second from left) next to Boston Dynamics other machines.
‘It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain and help with navigation.
‘This version of Atlas is about 5′ 9″ tall (about a head shorter than the DRC Atlas) and weighs 180 lbs.’
However, the firm released now more details – and the video has no narration.
The video shows the robot walking out of the firm’s office and across a snowy plateau.
While lsing its footing several times, it corrects itself and stays upright.
It is also shown moving 10kg boxes with ease in a tight space.
It then faces a more difficult foe – an employee with a hockey stick.
He’s behind you! Boston Dynamic has revealed the new wireless version of its humanoid robot in a new video showing it walk, run, and even be pushed over and get up again on its own.
THE ATLAS ROBOT
According to Boston Dynamics, Atlas is a ‘high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain.
‘Atlas can walk bipedally leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment.
‘In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces.’
Last year’s Robo-Olympics saw the world’s most advanced robots go head to series in a series of ever more challenging events.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) proved that robots still have some way to go before matching the dexterity of a human.
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