Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics has announced SpotMini, a 65-pound robot that can help its owner by putting dishes into a dishwasher and throwing away trash.
It can assess its surroundings and perform delicate movements to not break glassware or bump into objects. A video introducing the robotic companion shows some of its functions due to its reduced size and even its ability to stand up after slipping on a banana peel.
A household electric companion
SpotMini can climb stairs, walk below tables and chairs, and even coordinate with other robots to not collide with each other. It runs on electricity, and it can perform 90 minutes worth of simple tasks. It is very silent, as it is one of the few robots that Boston Dynamics has developed for household use.
SpotMini employs many sensors and cameras all over its body and limbs so it can freely move in a typical home environment. Even if SpotMini can perform most functions by itself, some orientation is necessary to achieve more complex duties. Although it seems as if the robot is ready to be sold at your local electronics superstore, there are still some details to fix before people can enjoy their own robotic help for the house.
The issue with robots performing chores
Boston Dynamics has announced a broad array of useful and sometimes creepy robots to complete a diversity of tasks which include carrying materials, running at high speeds, jumping over buildings, and climbing walls. The Alphabet-owned company has a promising future, but it seems that the firm will be sold to Toyota. The price of the trade has not been established, but there are reports of both Toyota and Amazon bidding for ownership. Google has not commented anything regarding the matter nor have the buying companies.
One of the issues is that the U.S. military mostly funds the projects of Boston Dynamics through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Google does not supervise some of Boston Dynamic’s projects, and there are clear discrepancies as to which would be the functions of the commercial robot.
Google’s goal is to release a commercial household robot for 2020 to be able to help in daily tasks. Boston Dynamics initially resisted the initiative, and it benefitted from being one of the many robot manufacturers under Google’s wing, which allowed them to become partially isolated and develop other types of robots.
Some argue that the main problem was the announcement of Boston Dynamic’s humanoid robot known as Atlas, as many fear that it would eventually be able to accomplish jobs that in the end provide humans with benefits. Reportedly, by joining Toyota, specifically the Toyota Research Institute, Boston Dynamics will be able to focus on research rather than commercialization.
Since Google has a global approach concerning technology and the digitization of everyday tasks, it may be plausible that they are gravely concerned at the release of a robot that can replace humans in tasks that count as hard labor, which allow people to have an income and sustain themselves and their families.
Source: Tech Insider