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What just happened? Boston Dynamics has been evolving its robots into more advanced machines for years. It's usually the human-like Atlas that gets all the attention, but the quadruped Spot is now having its turn in the spotlight. The company's new video shows the mechanical dog doing everything from skipping to tidying up—the latter task being achieved through Spot's robotic arm.
Boston Dynamics released its latest video, called "Spot's got an arm," yesterday. "Now that Spot has an arm in addition to legs and cameras, it can do mobile manipulation," the company writes. "It finds and picks up objects (trash), tidies up the living room, opens doors, operates switches and valves, tends the garden, and generally has fun. Motion of the hand, arm and body are automatically coordinated to simplify manipulation tasks and expand the arm's workspace, making its reach essentially unbounded."
The video also reveals Spot's impressive jump rope skills. Helped by two other units spinning the rope in perfect synchronization, the robot leaps each twirl without missing a beat.
Boston Dynamics, now owned by automaker Hyundai, writes that Spot's behavior in the video was programmed using a new API for mobile manipulation that supports autonomy and user applications. There's also a new tablet so users can perform remote operations.
An extended Spot product line is being launched later today. You can watch a livestream of the event below, starting at 8am PT/11am ET
Spot units went on sale last year for the rather eye-watering price of $74,500, and that's without the extended warranty and extra battery. It was one of the robots that performed an end-of-year dance in Boston Dynamics' video.