TechCrunch: Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics rocked the world with the robots like Big Dog, Cheetah and Atlas. As one of the company's latest creations SpotMini comes to market, CEO Marc Raibert will discuss the company's journey to productizing.

Boston Dynamics, a robotics company known for it’s legged robots. Robots from the humanoid Atlas capable of jumping to somersaulting to the quadrupeds Rhex and Spot to name a few being able to traverse and negotiate just about any terrain obstacles one can thing of.

The company in fact has been a research and development company for a very long time but it is only up until recently that they are now moving towards creating and commercialisation of a product. All with the advent of SpotMini.

Discussed in the video above, SpotMini has a built-in vision system which facilitates in the robot’s navigation. Also it is designed as a platform whereby the end user would be able to add third-party peripherals and components for added functionality specific to the user’s needs.

It is also revealed that the company now is conducting Lifespan Testing on the moving parts that makes up SpotMini. Not only the components are being tested out rigorously, the robots themselves were Beta-Tested. on various obstacles and environments such as stairs or literally just walls in order to find bugs in the program that needs to be resolved.

That begs the question: what are the applications?

Nothing specific. It is meant to be general purpose. As mentioned above users would be able to add third-party functionality, SpotMini is designed to be versatile. On the software side, will there be an API so users will be able to create their own program.

Examples include the addition of a robotic arm/manipulator or perhaps even a 3D camera. Some applications discussed in the video include law enforcement and the inspection of construction sites.

The list goes on……..

Also one thing that was mentioned was the acquisition of Kinema Systems, a 3D Deep-Learning vision system. The CEO mentioned that the system is not yet implemented into SpotMini. Something interesting to learn about.

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