Boston Dynamics’ Spot, a versatile rough terrain robot dog

Google’s $500 million acquisition way back in 2013, Boston Dynamics has been cloaked with veil of secrecy over the years, but this is about to change as Boston Dynamics has finally surfaced out of obscurity.

Boston Dynamics has just hugged the limelight and even created noise by taking the wraps off its new fangled rough terrain robotic canine named “Spot,” which can walk with its four limbs and can navigate through rough surfaces while staying upright.

Spot weighs 160 lbs and lighter compared with its 240-pound predecessor Big Dog. The rough terrain robot Big Dog is as versatile as Spot as it can walk, run at speed of 4 miles/hr, climb at 35 degree slopes, carry 155 kg up to 181 kg loads and has a range of 20 miles.

The two robots are equipped with similar physical features like the same number of hydraulic legs and sensor heads, and displays impressive skills in walking through slopes and climb rough terrain while maintaining balance all throughout. Both automatons are hydraulically actuated for fine control.

Spot is most likely equipped with sensors that employ LIDAR system which are similar to the ones that are utilized on Google’s driverless cars. Interestingly, Spot walks like a horse and can be able to stand off the ground. The robot doggie is driven by electricity and its head is equipped with a sensor to help move around and scan its surrounding.

Boston Dynamics showcased Spot in a YouTube video that the company has released recently. The smallest robot the company has whipped up to date, the poor robot dog received repeated kicking from the company’s employees, but it luckily holds its ground well even when kicked really hard.

The robot dog also comes with sensors that help pick itself right off the ground when it is tripped while running. The robot stumbles backward a bit but stays on its four limbs well.

Spot is capable of running at the rate of not less than 42km/h which is still way below the speed of the fastest dog breed, that is, the greyhound which can run up to 70km/hr.

Spot weighs lesser than the majority of dynamic robots, but it is quicker. The robot dog cannot carry heavy loads but it can do some indoor and outdoor chores. It can also serve as a search and rescue device and utilized for mapping purposes. It can also be used for reconnaissance, scouring areas that are not accessible to humans.

Google hasn’t announced yet its plans for its special dog named Spot.

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