If you were eagerly awaiting the debut of Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini, you’re in luck, because the headless robot will be available to buy from 2019, the Google offshoot has revealed.
The four-legged robot is now in production and will become available in around a year’s time, so anyone wanting to get their hands on the slightly creepy animal-like bot can do so very soon.
Although there’s not a clear purpose for SpotMini just yet – it kind of just roams around, opens doors and does a few other random actions, it’s thought the robot will develop and become more useful as its intelligence grows.
Developers will be able to create new scenarios for the robot, making it suitable for homes and offices depending on what it’s able to do at the time of launch. For example the company itself has developed a surveillance package already.
“We have a surveillance package where we have special low-light cameras mounted on the back, there’s a camera mounted in the arm, and the computer can take user code,” founder Marc Raibert said.
“There are lots of applications for legs, such as going up the stairwells in skyscrapers checking for things that should be left there. We’re also looking at construction. Where as productivity in other areas has consistently gone up, in construction it’s almost flat – no technology has really been brought to bear to help,” he said.
He explained that the robot will use sensors to map out its surroundings, even when the landscape is changing rapidly and adapt in real time to tasks that need to be completed.
It’s not clear how much SpotMini will cost – that probably depends on the package it’s sold with and sector it’s being bought for – but we’d expect the commercial versions to be more expensive than the residential models.