A new video from robotics firm Boston Dynamics shows that the company’s newly updated SpotMini can officially open doors … with its head.
In the video, a SpotMini extends a head-mounted arm attachment to open a door and hold it with its jaw, allowing for a second SpotMini to trot through. After its friend has cleared the doorway, the courteous door-holding robot follows as the door shuts softly behind it.
With over 1 million views in under a day, “Hey Buddy, Can You Give Me a Hand?” is currently the #1 trending video on YouTube. Given its implications for the defense community, military technology heads are likely taking notice.
Four-legged machines like the SpotMini could offer serious near-future capabilities to the military, as detailed by Kelsey Atherton in C4ISRNET. The SpotMini’s animal-inspired features and increasingly agile abilities could offer a glimpse at the kind of robots that might soon accompany squads into the field.
Picture a camouflaged version of this robotic quadruped taking point, opening doors, peeking around corners and using infrared vision to detect threats and alert its unit of dangers that lie ahead.
The 55 pounds (66 pounds with the arm attachment) all-electric SpotMini uses advanced perception sensors to navigate multiple terrains and pick up objects. Those sensors include “stereo cameras, depth cameras, an IMU, and position/force sensors in the limbs,” according to Boston Dynamics’ website.
The SpotMini is the smaller and nimbler version of Boston Dynamics’ large robot dog, Spot, which was unveiled in 2015.
The SpotMini is proving that the thumb may not actually be the essential feature protecting humans from our future robot overlords. Perhaps it was just the door.