Boston Dynamics announced in May that it will release for sale the SpotMini robot dog in 2019. The company have specialised in robot development and research. The company was previously part of Google. The company was sold in 2017 to the Japanese company, SoftBank Group, who are known to already sell robots such as Pepper.

The SpotMini has been designed from the work of its larger robot brother the Spot, which stands at four feet tall brother. Boston Dynamics have mentioned in various press reports that they aim to produce and sell around a 1,000 robot dogs per year.

The SpotMini Robot – What is it?

SpotMini Robot DogThe robot has been designed to resemble a dog with agile four legs and is approx 3ft (0.84m) in height and will weigh 30kg (4.72 stone). Battery powered to run for about 90 minutes and with 17 joints to allow it to navigate around many different types of landscapes such as stairs. The Boston Dynamics website states that the SpotMini dog looking robot is designed to take a payload of 14kg (2.2 stone) in weight.

Being smaller than many other robots the idea is that it will be able to go around and over areas its bigger counterparts are unable. Like its big brother, the Spot, it will be agile and be able to re-balance itself if the robot slips or is pushed with position and force sensors installed in the SpotMini’s limbs.

See the SpotMini Robot Dog in action in this video from Boston Dynamics –

The robot will be given a 3D vision system (cameras forward, backwards and both sides) as well as perception sensors. with built-in stereo and depth cameras and then SpotMini will build a map of its surroundings. in addition, a snake-like arm that can be attached on the SpotMini’s shoulders (designed as an expansion port) giving it a neck and a head that acts like an arm that could then pick up items and even open doors.

This same expansion port will be designed by Boston Dynamics with open source type software connectivity to allow third parties to develop various add-on accessories. This will mean that SpotMini will be adaptable and customizable for various tasks and jobs.

Where will the SpotMini be used?

Eventually the robot dog may become available for the home but initially, Marc Raibert the founder of Boston Dynamics, has stated in various interviews:

that the robot could be useful for security patrols or for helping construction companies keep tabs on what’s happening at building sites

Depending on the progress of the SpotMini and how third parties develop accessories will no doubt decide the path and timeline of it being available for the home.

SpotMini Robot Dog Price?

At this stage, Boston Dynamics are unable to give a definite price for when it is released in 2019. We will update you as and when this is made clearer.

Here is another Boston Dynamics video showcasing the Robot Dog, this time in silver rather than the bright yellow and with the neck and head attachment –

New SpotMini Video “Uptown Spot” Released by Boston Dynamics in Oct 2018 – SpotMini Dancing!

This video has sparked the imagination of the public and certainly gives the robot a more light-hearted feel. Well worth a view –

What future uses could the SpotMini be utilized for?

Given the ability of third parties to develop accessories for this robot dog then the future uses are open to imagination. These are all hypothetical but could be –

  • There has already been discussion about this robot dog being used to carry disabled people across tough terrains
  • A smaller version could be similar to Sony’s AIBO but be more of a robot security guard dog at home
  • You could also see it having an accessory being developed to maybe carry bags across large grounds, airports and train stations
  • Mentioning airports, could the SpotMini be used in airports as part of airport security
  • Maybe even alongside the military and the police as a guard dog or to enter areas to spot hidden enemy by utilizing its 3D vision system. Maybe a third party will also develop night vision for the SpotMini?
  • Could the robot be developed to assist the emergency services to walk into houses in a fire and rescue people?
  • Maybe it’s snake-like arm can be extended to enormous lengths to look into hard to reach areas?

This could be an interesting development once Boston Dynamics release the first batch of SpotMini’s for sale in 2019. Then we see how and where third-party developers will take this robot dog.

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