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Boston Dynamics’ tiny new robot sneaks through your house like a ninja

June 23rd, 2016 at 2:24 PM
Boston Dynamics SpotMini Robot

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.

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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.




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