Back in 2010, a robot named Big Dog was introduced by Boston Dynamics. An improved version by the name of Spot has been unveiled now which is smaller and carries a stronger kick. It made its debut in a YouTube video that was released on Tuesday by the company. The robot weighs 160lb and is electronically powered.
Boston Dynamics hasnt released much information pertaining to Spot except for that it has been designed to carry out outdoor and indoor operations while allowing the video to relay all the information. Spot qualifies as the companys smallest quadruped robot and exhibits cleanest engineering as well. When compared with Big Dog, it is nimbler and much quieter.
Spot also features improved leg configurations. Big Dog used a forward-angled design when it came to legs, however, Spot has backward-angled leg design similar to the legs of a goat. It hops around like a goat as well. The efficiency of this configuration is quite apparent in the video where Spot, which is 1 meter high, can be seen navigating the narrow corridors of the Boston Dynamics offices while also getting a gentle kick by one of the employees.
The video hints towards the fact that the robot uses LIDAR for navigational purposes. Spot can be seen tackling a rough hill, climbing on a flight of stairs and even running with a human while also moving in tandem with another unit of Spot.
So what really is the purpose of this robot? The previous quadrupeds created by Boston Dynamics were developed in response to a contract of creating robotic mules in order to assist soldiers with their gear when moving on a rough terrain. That made sense when the robot was sized like a bullock but a goat sized robot might not be fitting for the above-mentioned job. The company might be trying to test its luck in robotic pet market, however, for confirmation we will have to wait for Boston Dynamics to release more information.