Today in Technology: Boston Dynamic’s Newest Exploits

Boston Dynamics New Tech

Boston Dynamic's Atlas feature video.

Realistic depiction of a motherboard

Caden Serros-Stanford

“Realistic” depiction of a motherboard

Caden Serros-Stanford, Staff writer

Boston Dynamics SpotMini

Many of us have seen at least one video of Boston Dynamic’s Spot in its early iterations, and it was very exciting. Looking back towards the company after a few years is where it gets almost scary; there is now even a humanoid robot.

The Atlas is Boston Dynamic’s first ever humanoid. It stands at just under five feet, and weighs about 165 pounds. This robot is able to jog over rough, uneven ground with ease, and hop over any obstacles in its way. It can go up steps, and jump up and across blocks. It can even do flips, jumping off of an elevated positions. The sensors and manipulator arms allow it to interact with the environment in a variety of ways, and this allows even better functionality. However, this is not the only robot developed.

The SpotMini is, as the name implies, a smaller, more compact Spot. This version is much better at maneuvering due both to its small stature and improved hardware/software, as well as having its own manipulator arm. This allows it to perform numerous tasks, from loading dishes to picking itself up after a fall. The SpotMini also has advanced movement software, allowing it to duck under tables and go around a cluttered house touching nothing.

The last of the robots spotlit today is The Handle. The Handle is a very vaguely humanoid robot with serious differences; It has wheels for feet and gripping appendages for hands. The robot moves likes gracefully, like a ice-skater or a roller-skater. It stands at about six and a half feet tall, and can carry 100 pounds and still roll well.

When asked about her thoughts on the potential of this technology, Melinda Stanford gave her opinions; “I think this technology could help people with disabilities around the house, especially with motor skills.” However, she also stated that, “Artificial intelligence can be dangerous, because they could rebel and kill us all.” These seem like two entirely conflicting statements, but it’s not too difficult to imagine either way. Many of us have good thoughts about technological advancement, but at the same time hold doubts and fears pertaining to robots.

Overall, these are incredibly interesting advances in robotic technology. There seem to be many practical applications of these droids, and many of them are scary. We should all look for the bright side of it, though, and think of the improvements of AI and human life this could bring.