Boston Dynamics, the robotics company that will someday be responsible for the end of humanity, just unveiled its latest creation.
It’s called SpotMini, and it’s a four-legged robot the size of a big dog, but with a long, giraffe-like claw for picking up items
and squeezing puny human heads into submission. Oh, and it can effortlessly navigate obstacles and stand up when it’s fallen over. Great.
In the unveiling video, Boston Dynamics seems to be framing SpotMini as some kind of around-house helper. It passes through doorways, under tables, and even picks up glasses and cans left there by humans. It’s actually rather impressive — the dexterity required to hold a glass or can with exactly the right amount of pressure, so it doesn’t drop or crush the item, is hard to code.
Mechanically, SpotMini is a departure from previous Boston Dynamics robots. It’s small enough that it doesn’t need a hydraulics system, and instead relies on electric motors to move its 55-pound body around.
The onboard battery should be good for 90 minutes of moving around, and a set of sensors give it full situational awareness. It’s not really clear how autonomous the robot is, which is a big question in its future utility. If it’s being remote-controlled to some extent by a human, it’s basically just a very slow way to do the dishes.
But if it’s roaming on its own, finding things to clean without human input? Well, that’s impressive, useful, and just a tiny bit terrifying.