Like the film, Boston Dynamics' new product is ahead of it's time.
I am not a person who is frequently shocked or impressed. That being said, when I viewed the latest offering on YouTube from Massachusetts-based technology firm Boston Dynamics, my mind was officially blown. What was so incredible? They have designed and built a robotic dog, “Spot", that is capable of walking around, jumping, digging, opening doors, and even more complex tasks.
Neither a household name nor a unknown company, Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 by Marc Raibert, an engineer and professor who had taught at both Carnigie Mellon and MIT. Since December of 2020, it has been owned by Hyundai Motor Group. Although first revealed in 2016, Spot was not for sale to the general public until June 16, 2020 at a price of US$74,500.
I had some questions so I reached out to Ed Colp, an account manger with the company:
What is the process like to program Spot to perform commands?
We have built Spot to be an open platform to allow for integrations of sensors, software platforms, etc. To learn how to develop on Spot and to access our Software Development Kit (SDK) documentation, please see our Developer Platform.
Do you foresee them being able to respond to a voice, like the Alexa device?
Yes, we have customers who have developed the robot to respond to voice and gesture commands.
I was very impressed with the latest YouTube video. Have any people/companies fully utilized it or other robots to increase/improve production?
Yes, to learn more about what our customers are doing with the robot today, check out our Spot Resources Page.
Finally, why does Boston Dynamics seem to be so far ahead of other companies in terms of developing this technology?
We have been focused on legged robotics since the early days, and Spot is the culmination of nearly 30 years of R+D.
Only time will be tell if Spot will become widely adopted by the public, but I for one am very excited by the technological progress and possibilities Boston Dynamics has provided.