When we say robotic dog, you may have a vision of a soft and cuddly robot, much like Next Technology’s stinky feet seeker, the PnueHound, or Domgy’s AI-powered pet dog robot. But no, Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini doggy bot is nothing near as cute as many of the others on the market.
It’s a headless robot, vibrantly coloured in yellow and black, moving its limbs almost like a spider with a bit of a trot. The company released a video of SpotMini moving around a garden, shaking its headless body and sensing objects via the sensors at the front of its torso.
SpotMini was first developed by Google’s parent company Alphabet when Boston Dynamics was part of the tech supergiant. Back in 2016, it had a weird claw-like hand coming out of its head, which could be used to pick up objects and perform other tasks around the home.
Fast forward 12 months and Boston Dynamics has thankfully decided to remove this strange addition, instead making SpotMini more of a toy than a home help. It can scale stairs and navigate around various obstacles with its agile design, although Boston Robotics hasn’t actually revealed what the purpose of the robot is.
SpotMini is the third generation dog robot the company has developed. The biggest in the series is the BigDog, designed to carry military equipment across rough terrain, although it was rejected for use by the US military for being too loud, while the smaller Spot quadruped was designed for search and rescue missions.
Boston Dynamics was bought by Softbank’s robotics division in June and now its animal-like robots are being developed alongside the likes of the Pepper robot.