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It’s a bit clumsy, but the door is technically open. Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robot SpotMini swings a door open and holds it for a friend in the newest YouTube clip from the videogenic robot lab. The video brings together three elements of the doglike robots’ development: the manipulator arm, Spot’s 3D vision system, and the new body casing and coat of paint that SpotMini has recently been sporting.

The manipulator arm navigates using sensors including stereo cameras, depth cameras, an internal measurement unit, and position/force sensors in the limbs. The arm has five degrees of freedom and has been seen engaged in the delicate and useful work of doing the dishes.

Boston Dynamics was previously under the corporate eye of Alphabet along with Google. In June 2017 it was sold to SoftBank, which also owns the Pepper assistant bot and Schaft’s humanoid robots.

Image credi: Boston Dynamics

“We at Boston Dynamics are excited to be part of SoftBank’s bold vision and its position creating the next technology revolution, and we share SoftBank’s belief that advances in technology should be for the benefit of humanity,” Boston Dynamics CEO and founder Marc Raibert said in a press release announcing the sale.

Science fiction and horror anthology show Black Mirror featured a weaponized robot dog reminiscent of SpotMini in a December 2017 episode. Boston Dynamics did angle their robots toward the military market as cargo mules, but in a 2015 decision were officially deemed too loud and not convenient enough.

Real Time Digital Reporter
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