Boston Dynamics may no longer be under the Alphabet or Google umbrella, but that doesn’t mean that its terrifying robot creations are grinding to a halt or slowing down.
That said, the company has released a new video that showcases the new SpotMini, a robot dog that’s not as horrifying as its predecessor.
For comparison’s sake, the first version of the SpotMini, which was unveiled back in June 2016, is bare and sports a long arm on its top, making it look like a mechanized giraffe — in a creepy way. It can do household chores, get back up on its own when it slips, and even play fetch.
This time around, Boston Dynamics ditched the mounted arm and slapped on some bright yellow plates to hide its guts and gears. Needless to say, that helped a lot in making it easier on the eyes.
In the video, the company didn’t really show off what the new SpotMini can do, but what is obvious is that the quadruped now has more fluid motions.
Now Boston Dynamics said it’s “coming soon,” but at this point, it’s unclear whether or not it means that a consumer-ready product will be rolling out in the foreseeable future or a longer, more comprehensive clip that showcases the new SpotMini’s prowess and features.
Japanese company SoftBank acquired Boston Dynamics along with Schaft from Alphabet back in June, and in its home country, it has already begun launching robots. At that, it’s likely only a matter of time before it ships its products to the United States and other markets.
“I happen to believe that robotics will be bigger than the Internet,” Marc Raibert, Boston Dynamics CEO and founder, says.
SpotMini isn’t the only robot that Boston Dynamics has in store. There’s also Atlas and Handle too.
Incidentally, the company does admit that its creations are terrifying, introducing Handle as “nightmare-inducing” back in February at the Abundance360 event in Los Angeles. That pretty much explains why the new SpotMini is painted with a bright, friendly color.
Still, it doesn’t look as affectionate as it could be, which is an important factor if it’s going to be hanging around the house for long periods.
That’s where Sony’s Aibo comes in. It’s an AI-powered robot dog that has a “natural curiosity” and a more pleasant look, though it won’t be doing any household chores or anything like that.
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