Two individuals named the Doctor and Sarah, are in terrible danger. They need to be saved, but who can do it? Before long, you hear the familiar and trusty sound of buzzing gears, and a familiar “Master?” It’s K-9, the robotic dog of the future, coming to save the day! Those of you familiar with the previous bit of narrative already know that it’s from Doctor Who, the longest running Sci-fi show in history, and you also know that K-9 was a highly developed robot dog which was an integral part of the Dr. Who canon. Standard Sci-fi scenario, sure, but does it sound far fetched, is it possible? Perhaps way back then no, but today, it’s a whole new world as the cutting edge company, Boston Dynamics has just launched their own version of K-9 for just $75,000.
Who or “What” is Spot?
Spot is an industrial robot developed by the genius robotics team at Boston Dynamics. Weighing in at around 70 pounds, this nimble little power pack has quite a few tricks up its sleeve. For instance, while he is generally controlled via remote, he can do other things on his own, such as climb stairs, open doors, and retrieve a drink or two. As for his mastery of the gait, Fred Astaire has nothing on surefooted Spot, as he can walk, trot, pace, spin and even crawl, and all to music, if you so desire.
This compact and agile little robot will mesmerize you with its array of talents. Spot can even wander around your property and create a map of the area. If you think that you’ll be hearing buzzes, clicks and clanks while Spot goes about his business, think again. While he does make some sound, he’s actually Boston Dynamics quietest model.
The remote is basically a modified XBox controller in appearance, where the left joystick moves Spot left, right, forward and back, and the right joystick spins him around. The controllers camera view allows you to see just what Spot sees. if you’re concerned you’ll be a bad driver, and crash Spot into a few walls, furniture or the occasional wayward tree stump, don’t be, as his object sensors will prevent the crash.
Spot Proves He Has What it Takes During the Covid-19 Pandemic
For a cool $75,000, one thing Spot had to prove was his usefulness, that he just wasn’t another expensive “toy”. As life would have it, Spot’s launch occurred during the devastating Covid-19 pandemic. As swift as you please, the researchers at Boston Dynamics sought to put Spot to work, to see if he had what it takes to be of service during these dark times. Fortunately, Spot rose to the occasion, receiving applause from those he came in contact with.
Spot Helps Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in Singapore with Social Distancing Duty
It’s a gorgeous morning in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Singapore. Patrons are relaxing on park benches, taking relaxing strolls, or sitting on the grass, enjoying a good book. Round the bend, comes a rather unlikely park visitor. It’s trotting briskly down the concrete park path, patrolling all it surveys, reminding people to make sure they observe social distancing rules. The robot is Boston Dynamics pup, Spot. A closer look tells us that Spot uses cameras to accumulate mundane data, such as how many people visit the park at that time of day. Park officials are quick to remind people that in no way will Spot be spying on anyone, just doing its duty of reminding park goers to stick to the distancing rules. By using Spot to perform these crucial patrols, they aren’t risking the health of the park workers.
Spot Helps Medical Personnel with Triage
In April 2020, Boston Dynamics announced that their favorite robotic pup, Spot, would be taking on some COVID-19 responsibilities at Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard University. Here, Spot would be able to prove itself during the throes of a pandemic by lending health care workers a helping hand operating as a telemedicine robot. If you’re not familiar with the term, telemedicine refers to the act of decreasing healthcare workers contact with contagious patients, a form of remote communication, if you will.
It seems that Spot was tasked with assisting medical personnel with triage. He was affixed with a display screen and two-way radio, so health care workers could perform video conferencing from right where they were. Boston Dynamics it seems, were quite pleased with the performance of their beloved Spot, stating “We’re listening to their feedback on how Spot can do more, but are encouraged by their reports that using the robot has helped their nursing staff minimize time exposed to potentially contagious patients.” This was just the beginning for spot when it comes to Covid-19, as Boston Dynamics would like to increase his workload, by having him check for elevated temperatures, individual respiratory and pulse rates. Due to his exceptional mobility, Spot can also perform disinfectant tasks via a UV-C light, killing Covid-19 as he roams specific areas.
How to Purchase Spot
Ok, so now that we’ve got your attention, how do you go about purchasing your very own robotic wonder dog? The answer can be found on the Boston Dynamic website, where you can shop for Spot, place your order, or simply chat with someone in sales to answer any questions you may have regarding the metallic wonder pup. Spot comes in three models: The Explorer, Academic, and Enterprise. Spot payloads have been designed to enhance Spot’s performance, tailoring them to your particular needs, and can be purchased separately. For an in depth view of all things Spot, please visit the Boston Dynamics sales page. Of the three models, the Explorer, Enterprise and Academic, only the Explorer is the model that can be purchased today, for $74,500.00. In fact, this entire article revolves around this model. Once could even go as far as to say that the Explorer is a great “starter” bot for those in industry or research. Ready to go, right out of the box, with the box including Spot, a battery charger, 2 batteries, controller, robot and power cases.
- Spot Enterprise – Spot Enterprise is just like Spot Explorer, except that the Enterprise version comes with extra sensors, a communications infrastructure, software integration, and fleet management capabilities.
- Spot Academic – Spot Academic is just like Spot Explorer, and designed to service a variety of research applications. Spot Academic comes with a special discount for qualified educational institutions.
While Spot is on sale in the U.S. only, Boston Dynamics hopes to unleash Spot to the world very soon in 2020, with plans to build around 1000 Spots at first, then build upon demand. The future is bringing us new challenges, and it’s robots like Spot that can help us navigate them. Spot’s ability to perform both autonomously and via controller gives those unfamiliar with the working mind and ability of robots an easy way to interact and learn. Perhaps one day, we’ll have packs of Spots assisting space explorers on distant worlds, mining asteroids, testing out the unexplored, transferring data, in hazard zones around the world and beyond.