If you’ve ever wondered what cute fluffy sled dogs might look like in a dystopian horror film, Boston Dynamics has the answer. The company just released footage of 10 of its headless robodogs teaming up to tow a truck.
Dubbed the SpotMini, Boston Dynamics’ bizarre creation can move eerily like a real-life dog. It can pick up objects, climb stairs, and even open doors. According to the company, the robot “comfortably fits in an office or home” and is the “quietest robot we have built”. Perhaps one day we’ll each be accompanied by our own obliging techno-canine.
As well as being skillfull, the SpotMini is strong, as demonstrated in Boston Dynamics' new video. Together, a powerful group of 10 K9s drags a huge truck across the ground. Towards the end of the video, you can watch them sinisterly stand up in unison before embarking on their task.
“It only takes 10 Spotpower (SP) to haul a truck across the Boston Dynamics parking lot (~1 degree uphill, truck in neutral),” the company writes on YouTube.
“These Spot robots are coming off the production line now and will be available for a range of applications soon.”
Boston Dynamics first appeared in 1992 and has since demonstrated its impressive ability to build bizarrely animal-like machines. In 2005, it unleashed BigDog, a large dog-like robot designed to act as a pack mule for soldiers. Next came the more compact LittleDog, followed by the super-strong AlphaDog Proto. Spot was introduced in 2015, with a niftier version, SpotMini, being unveiled in 2016. SpotMini then got a revamp, turning into the four-legged banana/dog mashup it is today.
The robot is 0.84 meters (33 inches) tall and weighs 30 kilograms (66 pounds). It can carry a maximum weight of 14 kilograms (31 pounds) and works for up to 90 minutes before it expires and needs to be recharged. It has a number of built-in cameras that allow it to sense and navigate its environment.
But don’t panic, these robots come in peace. The aim is for the machines to be our handy helpers, aiding us with tasks at home, at work, and outdoors.
And if you're thinking these vehicle-pulling robots look uncannily like the sleigh-pulling minions of a certain jolly red fat man, you're not the only one. Boston Dynamics released this charming video of some roboreindeer back in 2015.