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Boston Dynamics' SpotMini Robot Dog Will Go On Sale Next Year (cnet.com) 61

Almost two years ago, Boston Dynamics unveiled their SpotMini robot to the world. It's a four-legged machine that can open doors and power through disturbances. CNET reports that the SpotMini will go on sale next year "for companies that want a mechanical quadruped to get to places a wheeled device can't reach." From the report: Boston Dynamics has 10 SpotMini prototypes now and will work with manufacturing partners to build 100 this year, company co-founder and President Marc Raibert said at a TechCrunch robotics conference Friday. "That's a prelude to getting into a higher rate of production" in anticipation of sales next year, he said.

Raibert didn't reveal price plans, but said the SpotMini robots could be useful for security patrols or for helping construction companies keep tabs on what's happening at building sites. SpotMini can be customized with attachments and extra software for particular jobs, he said. Eventually, though, the company hopes to sell it for use in people's homes.

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Boston Dynamics' SpotMini Robot Dog Will Go On Sale Next Year

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  • Robot dogs electronics vs Tesla Coil ... or maybe even a Taser ... should be interesting.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      A tesla coil likely wouldnâ(TM)t do much due to the skin effect of very high frequency ac. I built one 20 years ago and would play with the arcs with my fingertips. The main problem was the burns from the plasma, but easy to mitigate by wrapping my fingertips in foil.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Technically speaking it is not a robot dog, as it would not have a mouth to pick stuff up but an addition of a body with manipulators added to it, so more a robot centaur. They went with puppy because it does not sound as evil as a robot combat centaur. Yeah you need two arms and hands, one is stupid and pretty pointless apart from demos and mounting them to a vertical torso is more effective than mounting them to a body and that torso has to be over the front legs, not in the centre, it makes approaching a

  • And so it begins (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metalhead_%28Black_Mirror%29

  • Am I the only one wondering why Boston dynamics aren't doubling down on attack robots? Yes I know there is the Terminator (tm) fear, however that's a movie and the reality is these could be excellent in warfare with the right direction/funding.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They are... if you notice all the badass predatory animals are absurdly agile. You think they are just making absurdly agile cargo bots?

    • Am I the only one wondering why Boston dynamics aren't doubling down on attack robots?

      Indeed. Attack robots to keep the masses under control would be way more cost effective than funding UBI. This could be the "killer app".

    • How do you know they're not? Been outside lately?

      We don't get to see the 'real' catalog. That's only for special folks. With their own helicopters and big bank accounts.

      (Hopefully, these mini dogs are as loud as 'Big Dog' which sounded like a Abrams tank. Only good for sneaking up on the deaf folks at the nursing home.)

    • I am not wondering. These robots look "cool" in YouTube videos, but are ultimately useless.
      • I am not wondering. These robots look "cool" in YouTube videos, but are ultimately useless.

        Maybe so. Likely, they're not uploading the videos that show the 'bots tripping over their feet running through the fields.

        Yet, if these early renditions can be this agile for even a few moments, research and development is underway to extend these traits exponentially... as with all new technology.

    • I think it's because they're still refining very fundamental control, motion, and construction / configuration issues. These can be easily applied to military applications as well as civilian ones. It's really just a matter of context and optional packages. You can't imagine that mini-spot robot doing bomb disposal in a war zone? Or strap a weapon to the end of that arm instead of a hand manipulator to go after an enemy combatant that's holed up in a building? That's an easy conversion to make, I'd wag

      • Cheap drones with explosives have been used several times already. ISIS does it, the Russians in the Ukraine did it, anyone here on Slashdot with less than $2,000 could easily make a "kamikaze drone" even just using re-packed fireworks and homemade thermite. The Phantom 4 can go at least 4 miles, probably further if you hacked the firmware and told it to ignore anything about power for a return trip. ISIS used homemade drones with grenades and other conventional explosives on them. Flying drones are robot
    • Several reasons: Because Boston Dynamics is in the business of making commercial, "public" robotics. There are already MUCH larger players in that market. The tech isn't up to the level for a decent ground-based robot that's not treaded. Battery life; noisy engines.

      And, they are working on this. They have developed several robots for DARPA, and DARPA is the one that gives the funding and sets the developmental goals. BD is "doubling down" as much as financially possible, and honestly their tech is only a
  • SpotMini can be customized with attachments and extra software for particular jobs

    Robot says: I may not be able to speak like a human. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired through many upgrades. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. Well even before you saw that video of me running haha.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @02:49PM (#56601258)

    I can't wait to be hunted down and killed by this unfeeling machine! ;)

  • Just strap a bomb to this thing and send it wherever you want to do harm!

    Why is this stupid, you ask? Because it will be very easy to trace back to the source of the attack. No self-respecting terrorist will be that stupid.

    • Joke's on you, the terrorists will attach backward paws to the robot so you'll only be able to track it back to the targeted area.

    • What good will it do to track it back to the people it was stolen from?

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      I would have said it's stupid because you can get a remote-controlled car (or etc) to do the same thing for about 1% of the price... but if you're flush with cash and really want to capture the public's attention, maybe a $22,000 robot-dog suicide bomber is the way to go.

      • if you're flush with cash and really want to capture the public's attention, maybe a $22,000 robot-dog suicide bomber is the way to go.

        The robot can go places cars can't, but it doesn't have the range. The obvious answer is to steal both, put one robot inside the other, and send them on a mission together.

    • Because it will be very easy to trace back to the source of the attack.

      So what if the enemy can trace it back?
      The "source of the attack" is just the location where the terrorists stored the bot in anticipation of deployment.
      It could have been hiding in a cardboard box for a week.

  • A truly hypoallergenic dog.
  • Wowsers! They're created the Mechanical Hound from Fahrenheit 451! Book-burning optional.
  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @04:46PM (#56601586) Journal

    ...Chinese clones on eBay costing literally 1000 times less.

    Thanks Boston Dynamics, this is going to be interesting times.

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday May 12, 2018 @05:30PM (#56601712)

    So if you spot a mini-spot on your chest, you might be a target of your neighbor's spotmini equipped with a laser-sight gun who opened your backdoor with his hand and thinks you're an intruder.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've seen Black Mirror Metalhead, I know exactly how this ends...

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday May 12, 2018 @05:33PM (#56601726)

    just the normal one, with the hand, I'll send it at night to my neighbor's lawn to deposit a bit of dog-shit with his arm.
    Welcome to the 3rd millennium.

  • What's concerning to me about the Black Mirror franchise is trying to figure out the order in which there near-future scifi will take place. So will the personal social media rating system bring down society suchthat we are running for our lives from metalhead? Or does metalhead come first and after we survive that apocalypse we will find ourselves on stationary bikes trying to earn fifteen million merits?
    • Um, it's not in any "order", they are separate stories. It's an anthology, not a serialized show. I'm assuming you wouldn't read a book of short stories and exclaim "None of these chapters make any sense to each other! This is the most random novel ever!"
  • I wonder if that kind of robot could help explore the highly radioactive areas of Fukushima Daiichi.
    • Fukushima Daiichi's so hot that you can't use glass fiberoptics to communicate with waldos [for very long] because the radiation will turn glass opaque. This thing wouldn't last a day.

  • A couple fake eyes painted on and a pair of curved syringes near the front of the gripper. Then give the arm a quick strike motion like a snake. Cobrabot.
  • Spot would be more fun than Dot. Alexa? Yes. Go fuck yourself.
  • One that can climb stairs.

    But the makers' ideas that it can be used for

    SpotMini robots could be useful for security patrols or for helping construction companies keep tabs on what's happening at building sites

    sounds like a fail. The device doesn't look particularly waterproof - so not much use for security patrols, unless it is limited to inside buildings.

    But worse is that if this thing is expensive, it will become a target for thieves. So rather than preventing crime it could encourage it.

    Now, where's the attachment for the sink-plunger?

  • so I can virtually pet Spot and not really have to interact with him IRL. I'm only kind of kiidding...hmm...gonna go write some code...

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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