Boston Dynamics has announced that Spot — its quadruped robot — is now available for sale for any company with good ideas. You know, like tweaking that AI brain, adding a poisonous dart launcher and have them hunt trespassing humans like on that Black Mirror episode.
Forgot what this beast can do? Check out this video.
On the company's sales page, Boston Dynamics describes Spot as “a nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease, yet is small enough to use indoors.”
The robot can run 1.6 meters per second with a 90-minute swappable battery, using its 360-degree LIDAR vision, the LIght Dectection and Raging system that can map any interior and exterior environment in three dimensions so Spot can freely walk and jump without bumping into static or moving obstacles. It can also track objects and do all sorts of AI tricks without using any treats and clicker training.
According to Boston Dynamics, Spot is also quite durable with an IP54 protection rating against shocks, water, and dirt. It is even capable of operating in sub-zero temperatures (-20ºC to 45º).
Spot is also fully customizable, with any 14 kilogram payload that can be programmed and digitally connected to Spot’s built-in DB15 port that provides with power. That payload can be anything you can think of, really. Including those dart launchers.
Spot running wild
Boston Dynamics VP of business development Michael Perry told TechCrunch that they are putting Spots out into the wild as you read these lines: “Last month we started delivering robots to customers, as part of an early adopter program.”
The company believes that Spot can be used at remote oil and gas facilities and construction sites. It also can be used for public safety. But what's really interesting is what customers will actually do with the little yellow dog: “The question we’re posing to these early customers is ‘what do you think spot can do for you that’s valuable?’”, Perry said. “We had some initial ideas, but it’s all our thinking and the hope is that this program will enable a whole new set of use cases.”
The robot can be equipped with additional tools right out of the Boston Dynamic factory, like a camera with 30x optical zoom “for detailed inspections”, extra computing power in an onboard module, and an arm to open doors and grab objects.
The price for Spot varies depending on the configuration but, according to TechCrunch, you should think “tens of thousands of dollars”. Apparently, corporate customers are lining up to snatch one, which will involve a leasing program, not a simple one-time-payment purchase.
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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.