Last year at our TC sessions: robotics conference, Boston Dynamics announced that SpotMini will be its first commercially available product. A revamped version of the product would use the company’s decades of quadruped robotic learning as the basis for a robot designed to patrol office spaces.
At today’s event, founder and CEO Marc Raibert took the stage to debut the production version of the electric robot. As noted last year, the company plans to produce around 100 models this year. Raibert said the company intends to start production in July or August. There are robots coming off the assembly line now, but they are all beta being used for testing, and the company is still doing redesigns. Pricing details will be announced this summer.
What’s new for the SpotMini as it approaches production include redesigned components to make it more reliable, masks that work better to protect the robot if it falls, and two sets of cameras on the front and one on each side and on the back. , so it can be seen in all directions.
The SpotMini also has an arm (with a hand that is often mistaken for its head) that stabilizes in space, so it stays in the same place as the rest of the robot, making it more flexible for different applications.
Raibert says he hopes the SpotMini will become the “Android of robots” (or Android of androids), with navigation software and developers eventually writing applications that can run and interact with the robot’s controls.
SpotMini is the first trading robot Boston Dynamics will launch, but as we learned earlier in the year, it certainly won’t be the last. The company is looking for its wheeled handle robot in an effort to push into the logistics space. It’s a super hot category for robotics right now. Notably, Amazon recently acquired the Colorado-based startup Canvas to add the robot-seeded arm of the fulfillment center to it.
Boston Dynamics made its own acquisition earlier this month, a first for the company. The addition of Kinema will bring advanced vision systems to the company’s robots, a key part of the implementation of these types of systems in the field.