Earlier this month, Boston Dynamics demonstrated a version of its SpotMini robot that contains an arm and claw/clamp on the end of the armature. The robot was demonstrated opening a door and walking through, but that was too simple of a task, apparently. This time around, the robotics company has demonstrated the robot actively resisting an aggressive human who is getting in the way.
In the video below, we see the SpotMini robot with an arm and clamp once again opening the door we saw in the last video. This time, though, a human wielding a hockey stick is getting in the way. The robot shakes off the disturbances, but they get worse from there. The human stops the door from opening, but the robot deals with it.
Things get extra interesting when the human aggressor grabs a strap attached to the robot and yanks it backward away from the door. SpotMini lurches back forcefully enough that some part falls off of it. The robot struggles against the human, trying to get back to the door. Eventually it is released, at which point the robot goes back to the door and tries again.
The movements are pretty incredible, including pauses as the robot assesses the door in the same way an intelligent creature may pause to plan out its actions. Soon enough it grasps the door handle, turns and pulls, using one leg to prop the door open, then its arm to reach around and push it. The robot, no longer fighting off the human, walks through the door and lets it close behind it.
According to Boston Dynamics, this was a test of SpotMini’s ability to deal with a disturbance when trying to go through a door. The robot, after getting the command to go through the door, is operating autonomously. The company is sure to mention, “This testing does not irritate or harm the robot.”