Lately, Boston Dynamics has released a new video of its robot called Mini Spot. In the video, the robot is seen running around outside, planning around objects in a home and climbing up stairs. The best part of the video is how delicately the robot picks up a wine glass and puts into the dishwasher.
The wine-glass act has been highlight as it could be judged as to how much skilled is the robot in handling delicate things. For robots to safely operate around humans they need to be able to sense their environment and capable of knowing how mighty they are.
Mini Spot weighs 55 lbs and is all electric and runs for around 90 minutes on a charge depending on what is it doing. The robot is having many sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro and proprioception sensors in its limbs.
There are certain tasks that are quite easy for humans, but not robots. From the video, it can clearly be seen Boston Dynamics has made great strides in making robots safer, so they could be more around humans and handle the tasks around a house.
It seems that Toyota has seen that zeal in Boston Dynamics and was so interested in buying the company from Google. In May, it was being said that Toyota was finalizing a deal to buy Boston Dynamics from Google.
If the deal is finalized, Boston Dynamics will be added into the company’s research arm known as the Toyota Research Institute. The institute has also announced that it has been working on robots that will be aimed to take care of elderly.
John Hanson, national manager of Toyota’s communications, was of the view that the company’s robots would be quite delicate and sophisticated. They will be quite efficient in handling elderly who are quite weak.
It takes a lot of perfection to hand a frail man and there will be a need of sophisticated machine. The company said that in order to reach at that level there will be a need of machine learning. Experts said that the fact Mini Spot can handle wine glasses with such finesse could be a big boost for Toyota.
Once robots can learn how much support is needed to handle something, which is as delicate as glass then it could be perfected to a level where it is known how to take care of humans in the best possible manner.
The deal has not been final yet as it is speculated that tension is going on between the robotic division and Google. For now, it could not be known for which purpose Boston Dynamics is making the domestic robot, for Google or for Toyota. In any of the ways, the robot would be seen not doing only household chores, but also handle them delicately with ease.
As per Boston, the newly-developed robot is the one of the quietest robots being built by them. Boston Dynamics said that Mini Spot performs certain tasks autonomously, but often uses human help for high-level guidance.