Boston Dynamics' latest robot stymied by a banana skin

The advanced robot can navigate stairs and serve as a butler

Boston Dynamics, the Google-owned robot maker that's apparently up for sale, has a new four-legged robot small enough to walk around a house, agile enough to load your dishwasher, and not quite clever enough to avoid banana skins on the floor.

Called Spot Mini, it's a smaller version of the company's Spot robot. Spot was developed for use by the U.S. military and took part in tests with Marines last year.

In a video posted to YouTube on Thursday, Spot Mini is seen in several configurations. In one it has a prominent LIDAR laser imaging sensor on top of its body and in another is an arm with a gripper on the end.

160623 spot mini 3 Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics' Spot Mini robot picks up a can in a video released by the company on June 23, 2016.

That combination makes it look something like a snake on a robot body and could be the stuff of nightmares for some people.

It's demonstrated extending the arm to pick up a glass and place it in a dishwasher and pick up a can and drop it in the trash.

Both Spot and Spot Mini are among the most sophisticated robots developed, but they are not perfect. In one scene, the robot can be seen walking into a cabinet. In another, it fails to notice banana skin and slips and falls.

160623 spot mini 4 Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics' Spot Mini robot takes a tumble in a video released by the company on June 23, 2016.

And in the final scene of the video, the robot attempts to hand a drink to a person but doesn't quickly release control of it. When it does, it seems to attempt to take the drink back, and the robot falls over.

Even these failures can be demonstrations of the robot's abilities. In most cases, when a robot falls it needs to be picked up, but Spot Mini can use that extending neck and gripper to push itself up.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?