The following is an excerpt from APRIL GLASER | February 13, 2018 | Slate.com |
The renowned robot-maker Boston Dynamics released a new, and likely highly produced, video on Monday of its latest robot “dog,” the SpotMini. From the looks of it, it’s an incredible piece of machinery with remarkably lifelike movements, showing a level of dynamism and coordination between its body and software that I’ve never seen before, and it certainly left some people at least slightly worried that we’re nearing a future in which robots will be able to let themselves out of the lab.
In the video, a little robot dog prances over to a door, only to realize it has no hands and can’t open it. A few seconds later, a larger Spot robot dog that has an articulated arm with a grabber for a hand where its head should be emerges from around a corner. The bigger Spot uses its grabber to grasp the door handle and begins to pull the door toward itself. The robot then props the door open with its foot, which frees its arm to stretch inside the door and push it open. It then holds it open as it waits for its friend to go through before following behind, all the while holding the door open with its arm as its body takes a turn and walks forward. What’s impressive here is that the robot isn’t just agile enough to grab a door handle without either missing it by knocking on the door or grabbing the air, it’s also strong enough to pull it open and leverage its own weight to keep it open.
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