Boston Dynamics taught its robots to open doors and it’s terrifying

Brittany A. Roston - Feb 12, 2018, 4:07 pm CST
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Boston Dynamics taught its robots to open doors and it’s terrifying

Boston Dynamics is back with a new video showing off one of its creations, the latest iteration of the SpotMini robot. SpotMini has changed considerably since its first public debut; its movements are more animal-like than ever, plus it has a slim, sleek body. Not content with merely making robo-dogs, though, Boston Dynamics has taken things up a notch by adding a flexible arm and claw/clamp.

Boston Dynamics unveiled its first SpotMini back in 2016, later introducing a refined version of it in November 2017. That refined version appears dog-like with similar body movements, but it lacks a face in favor an indentation on the front of its body where cameras and sensors reside. Though realistic when moving around, the SpotMini isn’t an intimidating machine.

That changes with a video Boston Dynamic just published. With no details to accompany, the robotics company just introduced a version of SpotMini with a large armature attached to its body. This arm can rotate and move forward/backward. On the end of the “arm” is a large claw that resembles a snake’s head, giving the entire machine a creepy reptilian vibe.

The claw-equipped version of SpotMini is shown prancing up to a door, lifting its claw near the handle, pausing to reposition its body (while the claw remains steady in the air!), then grasping the handle and turning it. From there, the armature is shown wrapping around the door while one foot holds it in place.

The arm then pushes the door open and holds it there for a different claw-less SpotMini to enter. Finally, the claw-equipped robot enters, naturally extending its armature to hold the door open long enough for its entire body to enter. It’s incredible, yes, but not the most incredible thing we’ve seen come out of Boston Dynamics. The company previously demonstrated its humanoid Atlas robot navigating an obstacle course during which time it performed a backflip.


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