Boston Dynamics has released a video introducing SpotMini, a smaller version of its Spot quadruped robot performing domestic chores, like loading a dishwasher, suggesting that it might be useful around the house.
SpotMini is quite unlike other robots in that it walks on four legs and in place of a neck and head it had a robotic arm and it was this gripper that allowed it to manipulate objects, and fetch and carry them. However, as one could see in the video it had not mastered walking around and did not always want to part with things.
Boston Robotics said the all-electric (no hydraulics) SpotMini weighed upto 65 lbs including its arms, and for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it was doing. It had a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs, which helped with navigation and mobile manipulation.
Medicinenet.com defines proprioception as the ability to sense stimuli within the body regarding position, motion and equilibrium.
Boston Dynamics further stated that it was the quietest robots it had built. Also SpotMini performed some tasks autonomously, but often used a human for high-level guidance.
Boston Dynamics was acquired by Google in 2013, and earlier this year rumours emerged, that Alphabet, its parent company was looking for a buyer.
SpotMini can climb stairs, walk below tables and chairs, and even coordinate with other robots as to avoid running into each other. It works on electricity, and it can perform 90 minutes worth of simple tasks.
It is also very silent and is one of the few robots that Boston Dynamics had developed for household use.
SpotMini used many sensors and cameras all over its body and limbs so it could freely move into a typical home environment. Even though SpotMini can perform most functions by itself, some orientation was required for performing more complex duties.