- Spot, the four-legged robot from Boston Dynamics, will soon have an additional robot arm.
- Boston Dynamics also said that it will be available for home use “someday.”
- Spot became available for commercial sale earlier in June, listed at $74,500.
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Spot, Boston Dynamics’ famous four-legged robot, is getting another upgrade. Founder Marc Raibert said that the company will start selling Spot with a robot arm, Emil Protalinski at Venture Beat reported. Raibert said that the arm will be available “in a few months.”
“Once you have an arm on a robot, it becomes a mobile manipulation system. It really opens up just vast horizons on things robots can do. I believe that the mobility of the robot will contribute to the dexterity of the robot in ways that we just don’t get with current fixed factory automation” Raibert said.
Spot just became available for commercial sale earlier this month. For $74,500, Spot is ready for use by “developers eager to explore how flexible mobile robots can be adapted for tasks ranging from industrial inspection to entertainment.”
Currently, Spot is only available to US customers, and they can expect orders to be fulfilled in six to eight weeks after a $1,000 deposit.
The company suggests several uses for the dog-like robot: “Inspect dangerous, inaccessible, and remote environments,” “automate data collection on your site,” and “carry payloads on unstructured or unknown terrain.” The addition of an arm could potentially expand these uses.
Previously, companies used Spot as part of the“Early Adopter Program,” which meant they could lease the robot under certain conditions. If customers violated the agreement, Boston Dynamics could reclaim the robot and end the relationship. Now, interested customers can buy Spot directly.
Raibert also told Venture Beat that Spot will eventually be available for home use, using the example of a Spot model putting away laundry in a home. For now, Boston Dynamics’ terms and conditions clarify that Spot is not safe around children or in a home.
Even without the addition of an arm, Spot has already found many uses. Boston area hospitals started reaching out to Boston Dynamics in early March asking for robots that could help minimize staff exposure to COVID-19. Spot robots were equipped with iPads and two-way robots to worth with COVID-19 patients at the hospital. Using this setup, doctors could talk to patients and evaluate symptoms from afar.
In New Zealand, Boston Dynamics’ Spot partnered with another company, Rocos, to herd sheep and collect agricultural data. Rocos said that its software will make Spot more useful on remote missions, and make the data collected by Spot more useful and accessible to remote teams.
Spot was also used in a park in Singapore to encourage social distancing and tell people to stay at least one meter apart. It has also been used on construction sites, by Massachusetts State Police, and in other projects.