The robo-dog went viral in 2018 after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos posted a photo of taking it for a walk, on Twitter. The robot can climb stairs, walk through the mud, and can handle bumpy terrain with ease.
Spot weighs 72 pounds, stands 37 inches high (83 cm), has a total length of 43 inches (110 cm) and its battery has a 90-minutes runtime which is swappable. It also has a 360-degree field of view due to cameras around him that can help him to climb stairs and navigate rough terrain easily.
Boston Dynamics has developed two models of Spot:
- Spot Explorer
- Spot Enterprise
What Spot can do?
This Spot was deployed in the Chornobyl Nuclear Exclusion Zone being equipped with a radiation detector mounted on top.
Your Spot can carry and power up to 14kg (30 lbs) and can be programmed to repeat autonomous missions to gather precious data for improvements. From your controller, you can switch the speed of your Spot: slow, medium, or fast. Spot can go up to 1.5 meters per second or about 3 miles per hour in fast mode, like a human walking speed. Boston Dynamics tested faster speeds, but at this moment the Spot is his peak of complexity and stability. Of course, they are constantly evolving their products.
His 360-degree perception made from 5 sets of cameras on each side, is used to virtually create a 3d map around it and avoid obstacles as they appear. It can easily walk on grass, gravel, rough terrains, climb stairs (forward or backward), curbs, and even avoid branches with no problem. Even if it’s upside down he can flip over and move on.
Spot has a couple of modes. He can sit, stand, walk, and even hops, being completely airborne.
Your friend is controlled from far using a 7-inch controller that resembles a Nintendo Switch. If you love RC cars you can learn to control Spot, the Robo-Dog in a few minutes. You have a lot of features in this tablet that can maintain you busy for hours. Cameras can be switched directly from this controller, which lets you know his position every second.
Customize your Spot
According to their shop page, the Spot is customizable. There you can attach and integrate unique outside hardware like cameras, sensors, and even a thermal camera for more detailed inspections using mounting rails and payload ports. Do not forget the arm, with which operators can grasp, lift, carry, place, and drag a variety of items.
Boston Dynamics, the world’s leading robotics company, is selling the robo-dog for $74,500.
Is it worth it?
“We estimate that there are about a trillion cubic foot boxes moved around the world every year,” says Raibert for Tech Crunch. “And most of it’s not automated. There’s really a huge opportunity there. And of course, this robot is great for us because it includes the DNA of a balancing robot and moving dynamically, and having counterweights that let it reach a long way. So it’s no different, in some respects, from the robots we’ve been building for years. On the other hand, some of it is very focused on grasping, being able to see boxes, and do tasks like stacking them neatly together.”
The Spot, Robo-Dog is the peak of engineering, but it’s still a robot, and it’s not exactly perfect. Would you buy this “toy” for over $70,000?