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Meet Spot, Boston Dynamics’ Nimble New Four-Legged Robot

SpotAs IEEE Spectrum puts it, “Boston Dynamics is infuriatingly cool.” From their human like ATLAS robot to their world record setting Cheetah robot to their iconic BigDog quadruped robot, Boston Dynamics is on the forefront of creating new designs and robots that can achieve amazing things.

And now, there’s a new addition to the Boston Dynamics robotic family—his name is Spot and he’s a younger sibling to BigDog.

Check out this video of Spot roaming around their offices and even avoiding being kicked over!

Boston Dynamics has this to say about Spot: “Spot is a four-legged robot designed for indoor and outdoor operation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. Spot has a sensor head that helps it navigate and negotiate rough terrain and he weighs about 160 lbs.”

Instead of sounding like a swarm of angry bees (as BigDog does when he starts moving), Spot sounds like a bad day at the dentist. It’s still hydraulic, but it’s using a battery to power the hydraulic pump instead of a gas engine. Boston Dynamics confirmed that “Spot’s power system shares some elements from ATLAS’ power system,” which means that this change in power source should have little effect on its range, endurance, and performance, especially payload capacity.

Spot doesn’t necessarily look like it’s built specifically for speed or payload capacity, but there’s no denying that Spot is agile: It seems to have no problem with hills, or even stairs. The sensor mounted where his head would be is a smaller version of the Velodyne sensor that ATLAS has. Spot’s adaptability is also a huge asset here, since it’s so dynamically stable, it doesn’t need to calculate exact foot placement in advance and it can just go.

Boston Dynamics and their entire robotic family have been featured on our blog for some time now and we couldn’t be happier with how well Spot is doing out in the real world. These robots may seem like large pets that are just being made for the fun of it (they are owned by Google). But these robots are pushing the boundaries of what engineers can create and develop into a reality!

These pioneers have continued to make the world’s most advanced robots and Spot is just the latest in their innovative endeavors. Soon, we’ll hopefully be seeing more of these robots roaming around in the world, helping with disaster relief or other tasks that require a helping hand. The only question that we can ask is: what will Boston Dynamics come up with next?

photo credit: Screen shot of “Introducing Spot” video via YouTube




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