Meet Boston Dynamics’ ‘SpotMini’

It’s about the size of a golden retriever, but with a giraffe’s neck. It runs 90 minutes on a charge, and has all the self-guidance and balancing features of its predecessors. Meet SpotMini, the newest and smallest addition to the Boston Dynamics family of robotic quadrupeds.

It’s remarkably stable on level or rough terrain, and has an advantage other Boston Dynamics quadrupeds don’t have: a long arm with a manipulator on the end. It can hold that manipulator steady as it moves around, and watching it do this is remarkable in itself. This little bot can also navigate a home, put dishes in the dishwasher, successfully walk under overhangs without colliding with them, and do all the things its bigger cousins can do.

It still seems to have trouble with banana peels, but if it does fall over it can use that prehensile arm to right itself.

At this point, Boston Dynamics has made a bunch of these videos showing off their advanced robots, though some are less adorable, more unsettling than SpotMini.

The last video of the humanoid robot, Atlas, even prompted Google’s director of communications to send an email (obtained by Bloomberg) to colleagues about the “negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs” and warning them to distance themselves from it.

Making SpotMini closer to the size and behavior of a household pet seems to make him more approachable and less threatening, though we did notice that some of this comes from the plastic googly eyes they appear to have stuck on its “head”.



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