Boston Dynamics recently released several updates to its Spot product line. The goal is to improve the ability of its robotic quadruped to autonomously monitor construction sites. To do this, a new version of Spot Enterprise was introduced, and the long-awaited Spot Arm.
Spot’s new arm can grab, lift, position and drag a variety of objects, including door knobs, tools and valves. Object manipulation with Spot Arm can be done manually or semi-autonomously via constrained manipulation or “Touch to Grasp”. Controlling Spot from a tablet, for example, users simply tap the object on the screen they want Spot to manipulate. The robot will then discover for itself how to best grasp the object.
Boston Dynamics has released several videos showing some of the capabilities of Spot Arm, where for example Spot opens a door with a round knob. Boston Dynamics said Spot’s door opening behavior simply requires the operator to point the robot at the door handle, and tell it which side the hinge is on. Spot does the rest, pushing or pulling the door, and using his foot to hold the door as he walks past it.
The Robot that plants trees
Spot’s ability to open various types of doors makes it usable in a variety of human environments. Spot’s demo digging a hole and planting a tree in the video below was inspired by a customer who wants to use robots to plant trees on farms.
But who cleans the floor?
Going forward at this rate we will have to get used more and more to the presence of robots in our lives, sooner or later… what if we start with a nice robot vacuum cleaner and floor cleaner? Spot agrees too.