As always, the internet is abuzz about Boston Dynamics latest videos. And rightfully so. In the video above, the Atlas humanoid robot is doing parkour, jumping across a multi-layered platform and shifting its weight between feet.
It’s incredible to watch and adds another athletic feat to the humanoid robot’s repertoire. From the video description: “The control software uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace. (Step height 40 cm.) Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately.”
Waltham, Mass.-based Boston Dynamics released another video 9 hours later. It was about the Spot robot this time, and it’s more important than the flawless parkour performance from Atlas.
The video shows the Spot robot walking through construction sites in Japan, navigating stairs and narrow halls with ease. The Spot robot is there to inspect the work of its human colleagues with a camera embedded into its hand. The video below gives us a glimpse into how Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robots will be used in the real world. Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert said at the Robotics Summit & Showcase the company is commercializing SpotMini, a smaller version of the Spot robot, in 2019.
Must-Read: 2019 will be the year of legged robots
“We have begun field testing the Spot robot for commercial usage around the world. After an initial mapping run, Spot autonomously navigated two dynamic construction sites in Tokyo and used a specialized payload for surveying work progress,” Boston Dynamics says. “An additional camera in its hand lets Spot do even more detailed inspection work on site. The Spot robot will be available in the second half of 2019 for a variety of applications.”
SpotMini will be the first robot Boston Dynamics commercializes in its 26-year history. Raibert would not disclose the price of SpotMini. He said the latest prototype costs 10 times less to build than the previous iteration. Boston Dynamics is working with contract manufacturers to build 100 SpotMinis over the next year. It hopes to build 1,000 each year going forward.
During his closing keynote at the Robotics Summit, Raibert said it is a challenge to balance both Boston Dynamics’ short- and long-term goals simultaneously. The long-term goal, Raibert said, has been solving “the hard problems in robotics, leading to major new functionality.” Its new goal is developing products for real-world applications.
You can watch Raibert’s keynote from the Robotics Summit in the video below.