Boston Dynamics reveals updates to its robot dog – including a fifth limb

US robotics firm Boston Dynamics has revealed a new product line for Spot, its flagship robotic dog that costs a whopping $75,000 (about £60,000). 

The new products include a self-charging version of the dog, called Enterprise Spot, as well as Spot Arm – a fifth limb that can grasp, carry and drag different objects.

Also announced is a web-based remote operations software, called Scout, that lets operators control a fleet of Spot dogs from a virtual control room in work-based settings such as storage facilities and warehouses.     

Spot, which is suited for indoor or outdoor use, can map its environment, sense and avoid obstacles, climb stairs and open doors. 

It can undertake hazardous tasks in a variety of inhospitable environments such as nuclear plants, offshore oil fields and construction sites.  

The nimble, four-legged robotic dog was under development by Boston Dynamics for years before it was finally made released in June last year – but today marks the announcement of some major updates to the product line for 2021. 

Scroll down for video 

[embedded content]

Boston Dynamics said potential customers can purchase Spot Enterprise, Scout and Spot Arm via its sales team, without disclosing prices.  

‘Since first launching Spot, we have worked closely with our customers to identify how the robot could best support their mission critical applications,’ said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. 

‘Our customers want reliable data collection in remote, hazardous, and dynamic worksites. 

‘We developed the new Spot products with these needs in mind, and with the goal of making it easy to regularly and remotely perform critical inspections, improving safety and operations.’  

Video released by the secretive US firm on Monday shows Spot picking up dirty laundry using Spot Arm - although Spot is not intended for domestic use (yet)

Video released by the secretive US firm on Monday shows Spot picking up dirty laundry using Spot Arm - although Spot is not intended for domestic use (yet)

Video released by the secretive US firm on Monday shows Spot picking up dirty laundry using Spot Arm – although Spot is not intended for domestic use (yet)

WHAT’S BEEN REVEALED BY BOSTON DYNAMICS? 

SPOT ENTERPRISE

Spot Enterprise is a new version of Spot that comes equipped with self-charging capabilities and a dock.

This allows it to perform longer inspection tasks and data collection missions with little to no human interaction.

Boston Dynamics says: ‘Spot Enterprise leverages upgraded hardware for improved safety, communications, and behaviour in remote environments.

‘These upgrades expand the range that autonomous missions can cover, extend Wi-Fi support, add flexibility to Spot’s payload ports, and enable users to quickly offload large data sets collected during the robot’s mission.’

SPOT ARM

Spot Arm is the dog’s fifth limb, which has allowed it to open doors in past promotional videos but was not included in the final product released in 2020.

The add-on arm can manually or semi-autonomously grasp, lift, carry, place, and drag a wide variety of objects.

Boston Dynamics says: ‘It is also capable of manipulating objects with constrained movement and can open and close valves, pull levers and turn handles and knobs in coordination with its body to open standard push and pull doors.’

SCOUT

Scout is Boston Dynamics’ web-based software that enables operators to control their fleet of Spots from a virtual control room.

Operators can use Scout to take Spot anywhere a person could go on-site, allowing them to inspect critical equipment or hazardous areas from afar.

The software is designed with a simple user interface to run pre-programmed autonomous missions or manually control the robot.

This lets it perform various tasks such as walking or posing the robot to capture images and thermal data of obscured gauges or pipes, using Spot’s CAM+IR thermal imaging.

<!—->Advertisement

Spot Arm has already been shown off by the firm in video footage released on Monday, as a sneak preview. 

The robotic fifth limb, which has been teased in promotional videos from the firm for years, was not included in the final product last year– but it will now be offered as an add-on. 

Video released by the secretive US firm shows Spot picking up dirty laundry, using a skipping rope, doing the gardening and operating machinery in a warehouse using the new fifth limb. 

With the three new additions to the product line, Boston Dynamics says its giving Spot a greater ability ‘to perform autonomous, remote inspections and data collection’ as well as manual tasks.

‘Now that Spot has an arm in addition to legs and cameras, it can do mobile manipulation,’ Boston Dynamics said.

[embedded content]

‘It finds and picks up objects (trash), tidies up the living room, opens doors, operates switches and valves, tends the garden, and generally has fun. 

‘Motion of the hand, arm and body are automatically coordinated to simplify manipulation tasks and expand the arm’s workspace, making its reach essentially unbounded.’

As demonstrated in the video, the arm will have six degrees of freedom with multiple rotating joints for maximum flexibility. 

At the end of the arm is a ‘hand’ that can clamp down on objects and hold them firmly to perform various tasks – which also includes holding a piece of chalk to draw on the pavement.

The footage also shows the hand holding a cinder block, with the pooch having enough strength to drag it along the ground.     

Spot, the quadruped robot has been developed by Boston Dynamics. The firm says all of its sales will be subject to terms and conditions that dictate the 'beneficial use' of its robots

Spot, the quadruped robot has been developed by Boston Dynamics. The firm says all of its sales will be subject to terms and conditions that dictate the 'beneficial use' of its robots

Spot, the quadruped robot has been developed by Boston Dynamics. The firm says all of its sales will be subject to terms and conditions that dictate the ‘beneficial use’ of its robots

Spot was announced by Boston Dynamics back in 2016 and underwent various trials before being released commercially on June 17, 2020. 

Shortly after its launch last year, footage emerged of Spot patrolling a SpaceX test site in Boca Chica, Texas – suggesting multi-billionaire Elon Musk was one of the first customers.      

In footage captured by Texas-based YouTuber LabPadre, the Boston Dynamics dog can be seen trotting through thick clouds of nitrogen next to the wreckage. 

Leaked pictures also supposedly show a bright red dog house for the robot dog to sleep in, showing it has been rechristened ‘Zeus’ by Musk’s firm. 

Elon Musk went to the trouble of setting up a dog house for the new robotic SpaceX employee

Elon Musk went to the trouble of setting up a dog house for the new robotic SpaceX employee

Elon Musk went to the trouble of setting up a dog house for the new robotic SpaceX employee

Spot has specifically been designed for business use – in fact, when a business buys a Spot unit, they have to acknowledge a stipulation in the terms and conditions that ‘it’s not certified safe for in-home use or intended for use near children’. 

However, Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert previously said that Spot will soon be available for home use. 

‘We also have a project that I’m sure many of you are going to be very interested in, and that’s cleaning up your house,’ he said last year

‘Now, Spot isn’t available yet for home use, but someday it will be. 

‘I think you’re going to love the idea that the robot can be put in a room and use its vision system to identify your kids’ clothing that’s been lying around.’ 

Boston Dynamics’ CEO Rob Playter told TechCrunch that the company had sold around 260 Spot units as of October last year, but this has climbed to 400, the company revealed on Tuesday. 

Black Mirror’s ‘Metalhead’ was the fifth episode of the fourth season that was filmed entirely in black and white

Black Mirror’s ‘Metalhead’ was the fifth episode of the fourth season that was filmed entirely in black and white

Black Mirror’s ‘Metalhead’ was the fifth episode of the fourth season that was filmed entirely in black and white

Boston Dynamics’ technology is probably best known for inspiring a standout episode of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian Netflix series ‘Black Mirror’. 

In the 2017 episode, called ‘Metalhead’, people in the near future flee from an army of robotic dogs that ruthlessly hunt down humans. 

But not to worry – Boston Dynamics reassured that it will not support uses of Spot that ‘harm or intimidate’ people which includes banning the attachment of weapons. 

The firm hasn’t ruled out selling Spot to security firms, for example, or further law enforcement trials, however. 

Link hienalouca.com

Advertising:

Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 120 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply