Boston Dynamics, maker of the world’s most terrifying robots, is preparing to unleash its nightmare-inducing canine robot onto the world next year.
The company clearly thinks the machine is ready for the market but the question is whether or not the market is ready for the machine.
Boston Dynamics specialises in making humanoid and canine robots. In both instances, the robots it has demonstrated are capable of moving in such a realistic way that some observers have demanded they be kept permanently in labs.
In the latest videos released by Boston Dynamics, the company’s canine robots are shown opening lab doors like the way the dinosaurs did in the film Jurassic Park, just before they attempted to eat some humans they were chasing around all over the place.
And in a video released this week, a Boston Dynamics humanoid was seen expertly grabbing boxes and moving them from place to another, exactly like the way a human would when loading or unloading a logistics van for example.
Or exactly like the way a mad scientist would move glass jars containing human heads from one part of the lab to another, for example.
The company has not said how much the canine robot will cost when it goes on sale next year. It was originally developed for the military – to carry supplies – but its gears and other components were said to be too noisy for use in the field.
The canine robot that will be put on sale is called SpotMini, and has the following features:
- just under a metre high;
- weighs 30 kg;
- payload 14 kg;
- electric actuation; and
- 3D vision system.
The company mentions that it can “handle objects using its 5 degrees-of-freedom arm and beefed up perception sensors”, omitting to mention that it can open doors.
“The sensor suite includes stereo cameras, depth cameras, an IMU [inertial measurement unit], and position / force sensors in the limbs,” adds the company. “These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation.”
Boston Dynamics is a wholly owned subsidiary of SoftBank Robotics, which also produces the Pepper and Nao robots.