Friday, December 1, 2023

Boston Dynamics’ Spot can play jump rope, do mobile manipulation

Spot is the only Boston Dynamics robot that is already for sale, and we have seen it in many videos doing all kinds of tasks: from helping healthcare professionals to patrolling an oil rig, delivering autonomous industrial inspection, herding sheep, or dancing and performing gymnastics routine.

In addition to legs and cameras, the autonomous robot dog Spot now has a mechanical arm that allows it to do mobile manipulation. The robotic company has released a short YouTube video showing off all the new tricks Spot can do with its robotic arm. The robot can find and pick up objects (trash), tidy up the living room, open doors, operate switches and valves, tend the garden, and have fun.

Besides, if you have multiple robot dogs, they can play jumping rope together. Spot’s most impressive demonstration is the one that shows us its skills as a gardener, digging a hole in the ground with a small trowel and then planting a tree.

The manufacturer said that Spot has received new software that coordinates the motion of the hand, arm, and body automatically to simplify manipulation tasks and expand the arm’s workspace, making its reach essentially unbounded. The behavior shown in the video was programmed using a new API for mobile manipulation that supports autonomy and user applications, as well as a tablet that lets users do remote operations.

In December last year, South Korean automotive manufacturer Hyundai bought robot maker Boston Dynamics from Japan’s SoftBank Group. The deal cost $1.1 billion, under which SoftBank will own 20% of the shares.