Spot (Mini), the essential “mascot” of Boston Dynamics at this point, finally gets introduced with its official launch trailer. This a technical follow-up to its current availability for larger organizations, which was announced a few months back.
A recap for those who are not familiar with Boston Dynamics and their impressive breakthroughs in the world of robotics, Spot is one of its primary projects built for researching active locomotion in robots. The main defining feature of most of the company’s robots is that they move from point to point using its own central balancing algorithms in accordance with its surroundings.
In other words, each component reacts whenever their robots adjust their center of mass. Spot (Mini) is the four-legged version of the company’s various projects, a culmination of many different prototypes that provided earlier concepts of its locomotive method. Spot’s movements are quite dynamic, compared to most four-legged robots currently known. In fact, it is so dynamic, that it is often viewed as almost uncanny, adding to their variable reputation amongst regular internet denizens.
For the most part, Spot has been considered as a research project by Boston Dynamics, who occasionally showcases its newer features and abilities through presentations and short clips on its official YouTube channel. However, just last year, the company has finally made official its long-time interest in making Spot publicly available.
Indeed, as 2019 rolled in, preparations were already made to make Spot units available to larger enterprises as early as June. Several months later, Boston Dynamics then followed this up with an official video trailer that finally shows its beloved four-legged robo-dog as a commercial product.
As presented by the trailer, most of the features that were already introduced for Spot will be preserved and available. One notable difference though is that the arm module is no longer the default one. Instead, it would have different types of additional modules depending on the application, or where the units will be used.
In most of its promotion materials, for example, Spot is introduced to be capable of carrying additional sensors for surveying areas that might be too risky for humans to go into. With a carrying capacity of at least 14 kilograms, it is possible to install a wide variety of different modules for even the remotest and most specific of applications.
So, where you can buy one? Unfortunately, Spot isn’t available for individual purchase. As already explained prior, it will be mostly available to business entities such as construction companies, who need the additional automated workforce, but can operate in an environment that does not have too many people.
And no, this doesn’t mean that Spot will be manufactured in huge quantities to any company that orders them. At the moment, Boston Dynamics only has about twenty or so of these units working and operational. The deal, at least at the moment, is to lease these units to those companies. So in all technicality, this is still pretty much another testing phase for Spot. Only this time it’s exposed to actual working environments, instead of just doing tricks in a lab, and being recorded, for the whole internet to either gawk or gasp at.