• Shivam Singh

The $75,000 dog-like robot - Spot

This amazing and dope creation of Boston Dynamics is being referred to as the dog-like robot. While it isn't a house pet or a toy for entertainment, it’s a four-legged robot that can walk up to three miles per hour, climb terrain, avoid obstacles, see 360-degrees, and perform several programmed tasks.

Spot debuted in 2015 but was only made commercially available this month. With its canine appearance and human-like movements, Spot has experienced its fair share of internet fame. Videos of Spot dancing, opening doors and even pulling a truck have gone viral on the Boston Dynamics YouTube channel.



Michael Perry, VP of business development at Boston Dynamics, says Spot has “seemingly limitless” applications for businesses. The robot can be operated remotely, or it can learn custom routes and actions so that it can perform autonomous missions, he tells CNBC Make It.


WHAT IS SPOT?


Spot can be simply described as a computer put above some cameras, sensors, and motors. It is a four-legged robot that has a bunch of cameras and sensors in it which feeds directly to the computer or CPU inside that helps it interacts with its surroundings. Spot also runs on battery, of course. Summing up, a very premium and sleek looking robot dog which has a considerably better understanding of its environment by using cameras and sensors. Spot has rubber feet and can walk up to 3miles/hr in fast mode.




HOW DOES IT WORK?


Spot comes with a controller which is a tablet in the center with some buttons and joysticks on the sides. The tablet displays the feed from the cameras on Spot plus more controls like positions and speeds. There is a sitting mode for Spot where it turns off its sensors to save battery its kind of like a stand-by mode. There are two joysticks on the controller, left one for walking spot and the right one for its directions. Spot has cameras on all four sides and they can be switched in the controller at any time.



IN WHAT WAYS CAN WE USE SPOT?


Through the Spot robot, Boston Dynamics target various fields where spot can be useful.


Construction

Spot can inspect progress on construction sites, create digital twins, and compare as-built conditions to Building Information Modeling (BIM) autonomously.


Oil & Gas

Create autonomous routes or drive Spot to remotely inspect facilities and improve awareness of plant operations.


Electric Utility

Create autonomous routes or drive the Spot to remotely perform inspections in electrified or radiation dense areas.


Mining

Spot can create routine tunnel inspection routes and additional payloads can be attached on Spot to take measurements and ensure safe working conditions.


Healthcare

Use Spot to triage patients, deliver food and medicine, or disinfect rooms from afar.


Public Safety

Drive Spot remotely to get eyes on dangerous situations or inspect hazardous packages from afar.


Entertainment

Program dynamic movements and expressive poses through the API or drive the robot in real-time as part of a performance.



Apart from the regular moving and delivering/carrying products, Spot is programmed and designed to work in many different fields, specifically in areas that are dangerous for humans. Boston dynamics is also working with other companies to increase the capabilities of Spot for the better.




There are some failures and limitations to Spot but what it does today is amazing. It is far away from being called a gimmick and is a rather smart device. Spot understands what's around, can walk in different speeds, can detect obstacles and dodge itself, can walk through different conditions, can climb up and down the stairs seamlessly, and can carry a ton of stuff. Spot also won't fall by a light push and by any chance spot falls or fails at any task, it can pick itself up. This right here is years of development turning into a pinnacle in the world of technology.


Oh, and Spot can also nod at you! Dog-like.


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