Boston Dynamics has released its robot dog, Spot, to select early customers.
Are you imagining a little pal that picks up your paper and brings you your slippers? A pupper that walks itself and doesn’t need feeding? Adorable, right?
Wrong. Very, very wrong.
Despite its adorable name and cheery paint job, Spot is more Black Mirror than Beethoven. This is the stuff nightmares are made of.
This yellow canine-esque android is designed to be agile and nimble. It can climb stairs and navigate rough terrain. It’s also rain and dust (read: apocalypse) resistant, and can operate in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 45°C.
Its 360-degree cameras mean it’s able to avoid obstacles in its path — but it has crash protection technology, just in case. And if it falls over, it can self-right and pick itself up again.
Although it only has an average run time of 90 minutes, it has batteries that can be swapped out. It can also carry up to 14kg.
If the promotional video is anything to go by, it has some kind of extending neck situation, allowing it to push doors open and hold them. The team is also working on manipulation capabilities that would allow it to actually grasp a door handle.
On a serious note, Spot is designed to access places wheeled robots cannot, and could have applications in construction or the oil and gas industries remotely inspecting facilities or tracking project progress.
It can also be put to use in public safety situations, entering areas that could be dangerous for us mere mortals.
Spot comes with a software developing kit, allowing the robot doggo to be programmed with mapping, navigation and mission editing.
But, if you’re worried about the robot takeover (and you should be), it’s not here quite yet. While Spot the robot dog is skilled and agile and will soon feature opposable thumbs, it can only move at 3mph, so we can still out-run it, for now.
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