Boston Dynamics’ humanoid and animal-like robots have always been a mixture of impressive and creepy, and its new house-trained robodog, SpotMini, is no exception. For example, much as I’d love to have a dog that could do the dishes, I don’t think I’d ever be anything other than terrified when this thing stomped into the room, or when I walked in on it voguing along to my old Prince records (seriously—check the video to see its awesome 1990s-era dance moves).
SpotMini is surprisingly agile. It can duck under tables, it can clean up the kitchen, it can climb stairs easily. It can even bring you a beer while you read a magazine (although watch the video to the end to see a taste of the future robot uprising).
The robot is all-electric. Unlike Boston Dynamics’ other robots, it doesn’t use hydraulics. This also makes it the company’s quietest robot ever, useful when it sneaks up on you while you sleep. It weighs in at 55 pounds, or 65 pounds with the arm/head thing attached, and watches its surroundings through a depth-sensing camera, and sensors in its limbs. "SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance," says Boston Dynamics, which is just like a real dog. Only scarier. At least we know it has one analog weakness that human guerilla forces can use against it: banana peels.
It’s hard to think of anything more chilling than the sight of SpotMini trotting alongside the Atlas, Boston Dynamics’ robotic person, as it trudges relentlessly through forests, tirelessly tracking their prey—the foolish meatbag humans that thought they could control their creation. Perhaps Boston Dynamics should just give this dog glowing red eyes and be done with it.