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Boston Dynamic’s Robodog Will Now Have An Arm

by : Daniel Richardson on : 22 Oct 2020 13:09
Boston Dynamic's Robodog Will Now Have ArmsBoston Dynamics / PA

Spot the robodog can already tackle stairs and traverse difficult terrain, but the team at Boston Dynamics have now added an electronic arm that will allow the machine to handle even more.

The four-legged robodog is available for purchase, and the company claims that 250 units have been sold commercially since June this year. Spot can be used for a variety of tasks, and add-ons such as cameras and battery packs can make it very useful for surveyors. With the addition of an arm, it seems Spot’s possibilities are expanding.

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The addition of an arm had been teased since the launch of the walking robot in 2016, and it is now set to be released next year. It will add functionality to Spot, but it is worth noting that when it’s attached, the machines look even creepier than their original design.

In the video below, the arm can be seen as acting as a way to grab items, and it has a closing clamp that acts similar to a mouth. It also helps support the robot as it traverses difficult terrain. For those who have invested in the technology, these handy features can be added to the robodog in January 2021.

Discussing the arm, the founder of Boston Dynamics, Marc Raibert, said:

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We have prototypes working, but we don’t have them available as a product yet. Once you have an arm on a robot, it becomes a mobile manipulation system. It really opens up just vast horizons on things robots can do. I believe that the mobility of the robot will contribute to the dexterity of the robot in ways that we just don’t get with current fixed factory automation.

The new arm will allow the machine to open doors and pick up items autonomously with some supervision. If this wasn’t enough, it seems that Boston Dynamics has big plans for Spot.

Raibert has explained his vision for the future of the machine at the Collision from Home Conference, saying, ‘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, or maybe your clothing that’s been lying around. And then, look around and go over and grasp it and put it in the laundry basket, like this robot is doing in this prototype.’

Some may find this kind of technology intrusive, but it won’t be featuring in many homes soon. Spot will set consumers back $75,000, and this will likely limit its availability in the near future.

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Daniel Richardson

A middling Rocket League player and a huge fan of staying on the sofa, Daniel loves technology (especially when it makes life easier).

Topics: Technology, Boston Dynamics, Now, Tech