Boston Dynamics to Sell Robot Arm With Spot in 2021, Which Is Probably Fine
Boston Robotics is selling its robot dog Spot starting in Spring 2021, but the company has also included the option of adding an arm to the dog's robotic body, according to an initial report from Engadget.
Boston Dynamics' dog comes with optional robotic arm
In June of this year, Boston Dynamics manufactured more than 150 units of the renowned robot dog Spot for sale to external companies and research facilities, reports Gizmodo. At first, the idea was to let specialized companies explore new uses for the robot dog — and outsource feedback on Spot's potential capabilities (or flaws).
Boston Dynamics hasn't made the dog available for mass consumer purchase — except for Adam Savage, who bought one for $74,500 to feature in a video. But the company has added something more gripping for companies interested in buying the robot: an arm.
When Spring 2021 hits, anyone with the funds can buy Spot with this new versatile upgrade to the already-capable robot body. But in practice the added arm makes the robot dog look like it has a really long neck with a head of its own and a mouth of gigantic proportions.
Boston Dynamics' robot arm has multiple talents
At a glance, it feels like the drawing of a child: some metallic animal with unnatural features. But as Rob Playter — Boston Dynamics' CEO — told TechCrunch: "There's much more to the arm than just hardware. It will ship an intuitive UI, and be equipped to operate through both telemanipulation and supervised autonomous behaviors."
The new arm will let the robot dog open doors, bring humans a drink, and even discern the difference between a dirty glass bound for a dishwasher and a soda can ready for a recycle bin.
"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," said Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics during the Collision from Home conference in June of this year, Gizmodo reports.
'Home edition' of robot dog still many years away
Additionally, Spot the robot dog will have a charging dock to which it will automatically return once it senses low battery power. Like a drone, or the Borg. It's probably fine.
As of writing, Spot is used in several industries, including mining, construction, and healthcare to enhance employee safety in potentially hazardous fields. While we're more than a few years away from buying a home edition of Spot off the virtual shelves of the internet, there's little hope of a significant price drop.
However, the idea of having Boston Dynamics' robot dog ready to assist in mundane tasks around the house is certain to convince more than a few tech enthusiasts to start saving up.