Arguably the most famous robotics company in the world, Boston Dynamics, has unveiled its new slew of products centred around its now for sale Spot robot. Over the last year or so that the robot has been on sale the company has been receiving feedback for improvements, and that has manifested itself in these new products.
As you can see from the header image above this falls into three categories: Enterprise, Scout and Arm.
Enterprise is focused on applications where customers would like to leave Spot at a location to do its job indefinitely. Using a charging cradle and remote software the aim is to have the robot work round on a schedule to get tasks done with no or minimal human interaction. This, according to Boston Dynamics, allows companies to use Spot without ever having to put human lives in danger, aside from the initial setup.
Enterprise is closely linked to the new Scout ecosystem. Spot is shipped with a controller that was traditionally used to control it in the past, but now this can be done remotely using the Scout software.
Scout has a tonne of features but one of our favourites is how you can use the onboard camera to zoom in on objects. You click and drag on the display with the 30 times optical zoom to get a better picture. It reminds us a lot of the famous “enhance” scene from Blade Runner.
Other features include obstacle avoidance even if the pilot tries to drive Spot into a wall, the ability to self-correct if the robot falls over, the ability to return to an area with signal if it encounters a dead zone, and more.
Another great feature here is essentially a crouch button which makes Scout scoot down to avoid overhead obstacles.
The simply named Arm is exactly that: a grabber arm that attaches to the front of Spot. The arm has six degrees of movement and weights eight kilograms. The arm can lift five kilograms so you’re pilling on 13 kilos in total onto Spot at maximum.
The grabber end of the Arm also as a depth sensor and 4K camera so you can get a proper look at what you’re doing. The Arm is a metre long which means there’s a decent amount of reach but you’ll probably struggle to reach those top shelves.
As is Boston Dynamics tradition Arm has a fancy trailer showing it off in which three Spot robots play jump rope, along with a slew of other impressive feats.
The full presentation about these new services and products from the company is available as a stream right here. While it’s an interesting watch it’s clearly aimed at the big business market who have oodles of cash to burn on a mission critical piece of machinery like this. It lacks the flair of usual Boston Dynamics videos but anyone with an interest in robots should give it a look.
We’re not one of those business with cash to burn but, man, we’d love to own a Spot just for the hell of it. Maybe we can all pitch in and everyone gets their chance to mess around with the highly advanced robot. It’s like a time share but infinitely cooler.