“Robot Dogs” That Can Climb Stairs
The yellow robot dogs that so unsettled people in February by opening a door for one another can now easily walk up and down stairs on their own.
Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert — who founded the robot company known for building machines that mimic real animal and human movements — said Friday at the TechCrunch Robotics Sessions conference at UC Berkeley that the robots, called SpotMini, will be ready for purchase in 2019.
While declining to offer a price on the 66-pound, relatively quiet, and uniquely agile robot dogs, Raibert did say that they’re designed to be deployed in commercial office building-like settings — and then eventually homes.
To be clear, these robots have been given sophisticated motion detection software that maps out the boundaries of where they can go and where they absolutely shouldn’t go. That’s why the robots so confidently scaled the stairs, while staying clear of the edges. They “see” a navigational map in real time, which appears in the video at the bottom left of the screen.
The constant movement of four legs, however, drains the robots’ batteries pretty quickly. They’re capable of moving around for 90 minutes before needing to recharge.
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