After years of development, hype, stumbles and the successful climbing of many an obstacle, Boston Dynamics’ posterchild Spot is making his commercial debut. Who better to put the leggy platform through his paces than the man, the (ex) myth(buster), the legend himself, Adam Savage?
And yes, he’s just as excited about it as you pictured.
See Spot run as he deftly navigates rocks (after Adam puts the right gait on), tunnels, and the mortal enemy of the cardiovascularly impaired — stairs.
Spot is chiefly designed for remote interaction and inspection; think tasks a human might find risky, such as detecting hazardous materials in industrial environments, construction, or bomb diffusal (though I doubt little Spot would survive an IED). So it’s not likely to compete with your other four-legged friends for attention. I mean, it’s cute insofar as industrialized robotics go, but it’s not that cute. Although…
Spot is the first of Boston Dynamics’ primo robots to go commercial. Will the upright-walking, box-jumping, package-carrying, somersaulting strongbot Atlas be next? Cirque du Soleil has already considered using Spot onstage (who wouldn’t, with those moves?), so imagine the routines they could get into with Atlas’ astonishing, aerodynamic, audacious acrobatics.
Are these robots likely to hit the customer-facing end of the commercial sector? Probably not; they aren’t designed or optimized for dealing with humans directly, even when operated manually. Robot cashiers and butlers won’t be somersaulting off the shelves anytime soon. But Boston Dynamics is leasing their bots to companies with the freedom to outfit them for whatever modular tasks they want (the key exception being weaponization).
The jury’s still out on Robot Jeeves, then.
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Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Social Media + Events Coordinator at Worthix, as well as the host of the monthly CX News Recap segment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.