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article imageBoston Dynamics' SpotMini dog-like robot can open doors

By Ken Hanly     May 14, 2018 in Technology
Waltham - After 26 years Boston Dynamics is at last preparing to sell one of its many robots. The founder, Marc Raibert claims that the dog-like robot SpotMini is already in pre-production and will be commercially available in 2019.
The SpotMini robot
Raibert made the announcement onstage at the TechCrunch's TC Sessions: Robotics 2018 event today, at UC Berkeley.
Raibert said:“The SpotMini robot is one that was motivated by thinking about what could go in an office — in a space more accessible for business applications — and then, the home eventually.”
The SpotMini was introduced in 2017 and has the same design as its larger "bigger brother" Spot shown in the video below.
Although other robot products have been showcased by the company SpotMini appears to have been uniquely designed as a product from the start. The company claims that SpotMini is the quietest robot they have built yet. The robot weighs about 66 pounds and can run for about 90 minutes on a charge.
Commercial plans for SpotMini
The company claims to have plans with contract manufacturers to build 100 SpotMinis later this year for commercial purposes. They would start to scale production with the aim of selling the SpotMinis next year. There is no talk about a price tag yet. However, it will be much cheaper than an earlier model as the latest model cost ten times less to build than the prototype before it. No doubt it will not be a priority purchase for those with a limited budget.
History of Boston Robotics
Boston Dynamics is a US engineering and robotics design company founded in 1992 by Marc Raibert and has headquarters in Waltham Massachusetts. It is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese Tokyo-based conglomerate the SoftBank group.
The company is perhaps best known for its BigDog project a large four-legged robot designed for the US military and funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The robot was eventually rejected as being too noisy for combat. The robot was intended to carry goods. The noise is audible in the video below.
The company was acquired by Google later Alphabet in December of 2013 but later sold to the SoftBank group in June of last year. Boston Robotics is a pioneer in the robotics field and one of the most advanced in the area. Some of the company robots strike fear into AI doomsayers and others find the robots "creepy".
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