SpotMini: the headless robotic dog sure to give you nightmares
The latest robot from former Google sibling Boston Dynamics looks like a cross between something out of a Terminator movie and a cutesy Pixar character.
Shown off in a short teaser clip, the latest evolution of the firm’s SpotMini robotic dog has ditched the snapping-claw-for-a-head in exchange for a creepier headless design replete with soft, yellow plastics and eerily smooth movements.
While under Alphabet, SpotMini was shown off in 2016 capable of grabbing things with a robotic arm where its head should have been, designed to navigate within the tight confines of a home and to shimmy under tables to (badly) perform domestic chores.
The new SpotMini has a much softer and more compact but less useful design, which combined with its smooth, almost animal-like movement and face-style sensor system at its front (which makes it look like it has eight eyes), produces a machine that could just as easily haunt your dreams as it could become your new robot pal. Particularly when it stops, stoops and stares straight into the camera.
Not much more is known about the robot, although more information is promised soon, but the robot is expected to weigh around 30kg, and be capable of climbing stairs and navigating obstacle-laden landscapes.
SpotMini is a smaller version of the quadruped Spot robot, which itself was a shrunken-down version of the robotic packhorse BigDog designed by Boston Dynamics to carry equipment over rough terrain into the battlefield for the US army. BigDog was rejected by the US military because it was too noisy and gave away troop positions, leading to the robotics company switching gears and applying a greater focus to its humanoid Atlas robot – and now, seemingly, household pet replacements.
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