Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot is now more developer-friendly

The Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, ‘Spot,’ can walk, climb, run, jump, carry heavy loads, open doors, do backflips, and dance. And now, the company has made its robot more developer-friendly.

This Thursday (23 Jan), it has announced the release of a suite of SDKs (Software Development Kits) that can be used by any developer to create applications for a quadruped robotic platform or to tailor accessories for it.

The four-legged robot was introduced in 2017 and is available for sale since September last year. It is already equipped with sensors all over its body, four legs that allow it to walk on uneven surfaces at a maximum speed of 5 km/h. All of this is powered by a removable battery that offers up to 90 minutes of use. The Spot can operate at temperatures ranging from minus 20 degrees to minus 45 degrees. In addition, the entire robot assembly is IP54 certified – it resists rainy weather and dust.

Robot That work like a supervisor
Boston Dynamics’ Spot Robot

If desired, the owner of the Spot robot can also connect his own equipment, but to do this, you need to write code to work with the software for Spot. Initially, only organizations that purchased work with early adopters had access to the Spot SDK.

Now, Boston Dynamics has decided to expand its developer community and has made the Spot Software Development Kit (SDK) publicly available to view on Github. The interested developers can now see what’s available on the platform as soon as possible.

Savage tests Spot's ability to climb rocks, with mixed results.
Savage tests Spot’s ability to climb rocks, with mixed results. Credit: Adam Savage’s Tested (YouTube)

It is possible to create customized solutions for Spot related to something close to the construction, energy, mining, entertainment, and public safety industry. One of the enthusiasts’ customers is well known: Adam Savage, famous for the television program “MythBusters”. On his YouTube channel, Adam has posted a video showing how Spot works.

The development kit allows “to create custom methods of controlling the robot, integrate sensor information into data analysis tools, and design payloads which expand the capabilities of the base robot platform.” In other words, the machine can receive the software for the new peripherals and extra hardware.

Equipped with a 360° camera, Spot walks a jobsite and captures 360° images. Credit: HoloBuilder
Equipped with a 360° camera, Spot walks a Jobsite and captures 360° images. Credit: HoloBuilder

A company that has already developed an application for the robot dog with the development kit is HoloBuilders. From their own application, the company could send Spot to an area under construction, where the Spot is able to take 360-degree photos of every corner of the scene using virtual reality software. This enables the engineers to have a proper check on the progress of the work.