Boston Dynamics' SpotMini dog-like robot can open doors

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But the company said Friday that its smaller robot that looks more like a dog, called "Spot-mini" will be on the market next year.

If you found yourself trembling with fear at the sight of Boston Dynamics' updated SpotMini dog-like robot when it bounded into view last November, then you're going to suffer a full-on meltdown when you see the latest version. The SpotMini robots are expected to be used for security patrols or in construction companies to keep tabs on what's happening at building sites.

The SpotMini now comes with a terrifying appendage, one so incredibly versatile that the feared robot apocalypse now seems more "when" than "if".

The SpotMini "comfortably fits in an office or home".

Raibert said the SpotMini, which they claim is the "quietest robot [they] have built", is already in pre-production and preparing for commercial availability in 2019. Weighing just 30 kg, this battery-powered robot can carry payloads that measure half its weight on the scale and go 90 minutes on a single charge.

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"We are now taking the next step, combining the principles of dynamic control and balance with sophisticated mechanical designs, cutting-edge electronics, and software for perception, navigation, and intelligence", the founders state on the company website.

In this instance, SpotMini uses cameras to autonomously navigate through an office and lab facility, including walking up and down stairs and navigate obstacles.

There is no word yet on pricing. It also takes a tumble on a banana skin, suggesting at least one way we humans can defend ourselves against any upcoming robot rampage.

Boston Dynamics was bought from Google's parent company, Alphabet, by Japanese firm SoftBank in August a year ago, but it looks as though developments are surging ahead. He said Boston Dynamics still hasn't figured out how to make money from Atlas yet.

Updated on May 13: The SpotMini will go on sale in 2019.

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