Spot Mini: Dog-Sized Robot Runs, Climbs, Does Chores & More

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A slim cousin to larger bots from Boston Dynamics, the Spot Mini can steer around obstacles, walk up stairs and even gently unload wine glasses from your dishwasher, an incredible feat of precision and delicacy (not to mention neat at parties).

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We always see gifs of clumsy robots breaking things, not knowing their own strength, but this little guy is a big step forward in safety and capability. This is incredibly important if machines of this type are designed to become part of our daily lives.

Spot’s backers ask you to “think of how delicate a robot will have to be in the future. For example, to give an older person who is very frail a shower. How do you carefully lift them, position them, make sure they’re safe in order to give them a shower and then dry them off, help them with their clothes? That’s a pretty sophisticated machine and it requires a bit of machine learning to get to that point.”

Boston Dynamics is currently owned by Google, but Toyota has its eye on the company. Whether the search giant or car company will get these into ordinary homes anytime soon remains to be seen, but if they do make consumer models, buyers can be sure at least this is one dog that can walk itself.

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See more in Robotics or under Technology. July, 2016.
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