Spot on – Boston Dynamics is selling robots

The famous robotics research enterprise Boston Dynamics announced it will commercialize its most famous creation, Spot, a yellow four-legged robot.

Spot is a dog-sized agile robot developed by Boston Dynamics. Spot can climb stairs, walk through rough terrain under uncomfortable conditions and carry loads up to 14 kilos. The robot is intended to be used as a small cargo carrier or a mobile vigilance tool.

Boston Dynamics is an American robotics research enterprise and a world leader in mobile robots. The company tackles some of the most difficult robotic challenges while creating the most viral robot videos roaming the internet, engaging conversation topics ranging from technology to morality.

Because people recall a dog when looking at Spot, they have an empathic connection with it and react viscerally when Boston Dynamics “abuses” their robots. BD is not trying to be cruel towards Spot, in fact, it is just a practical test of the robot’s dynamic reactions. Of course, Spot doesn’t give a damn about being “abused” and doest have any notion of pain or morality, so is it okay to kick a robot?

Spot Boston Dynamics dynamic reaction test
Spot Classic was one of the early models in the development of Spot

The yellow robot will be the first product by Boston Dynamics to enter the market. Unfortunately, Spot is not ready to be your yellow pet robot… yet.

Initial sales, described as an “early adopter program” are not available for any consumer, instead, Boston Dynamics intends to target businesses and find customers in selected industries with compelling uses for Spot in real-world scenarios, such as remote site inspections or assistantship in rescue operations.

Spot Boston Dynamics
Spot can be used in remote site inspections or assistantship in rescue operations

Spot’s legs are powered by 12 custom motors giving it a top speed of 1.6 meters per second or 6km per hour – about the same speed of a human walking. The robot can operate for 90 minutes on a charge. In addition to the basic configuration, a mechanical arm can be added, increasing Spot’s functionality and applications.

Combining principles of dynamic control and balance with sophisticated designs, cutting-edge electronics and software, Boston Dynamics will continue to develop high-performance robots equipped with perception, navigation and intelligence. Perhaps in the near future, Spot will help the elderly carrying groceries home, assist visually impaired people in navigating streets or simply fulfill the craving for a pet robot.

Spot Boston Dynamics
Spot is equipped with perception, navigation and intelligence

Undergraduate student of Industrial Design at NABA, Milano. Thinker, doer and outdoors enthusiast. Understanding the world in order to help the shift towards a sustainable planet through design and every day action.