Boston Dynamics debuts the production version of SpotMini

Last year at our TC Sessions: Robotics conference, Boston Dynamics announced that SpotMini will be its first commercially available product. a revamped model of the product would use the company’s decades of quadrupedal robotics learnings as a basis for an automaton designed to patrol office spaces.

At today’s event, founder and CEO Marc Raibert took to the level to debut the production model of the electric automaton. As noted last year, the company plans to produce around 100 models this year. Raibert said the company is aiming to begin production in July or August. There are robots coming off the assembly line now, but they are betas being used for testing, and the company is still doing redesigns. Pricing details will be announced this summer.

brand-new things about the SpotMini as it moves closer to production include redesigned elements to make it more reliable, skins that work acceptable to safeguard the automaton if it falls and two sets of cameras on the front and one on each side and the back, so it can see in all directions.

The SpotMini also has an arm (with a hand that’s often mistaken for its head) that is stabilized in space, so it stays in the same place even when the rest of the automaton moves, making it more flexible for disparate applications.

Raibert says he hopes the SpotMini becomes the “automaton of robots” (or automaton of androids), with navigation program and developers eventually writing apps that can run in and interact with the controls on the automaton.

SpotMini is the first commercial automaton Boston Dynamics is set to release, but as we learned earlier, it certainly won’t be the last. The company is looking to its wheeled Handle automaton in an effort to push into the logistics space. It’s a super-hot category for robotics right now. Notably, Amazon recently acquired Colorado-based begin up Canvas to add to its own arm of fulfillment center robots.

Boston Dynamics made its own acquisition earlier this month — a first for the company. The addition of Kinema will bring advanced vision systems to the company’s robots — a key part in implementing these sorts of systems in the field.


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