Boston Dynamics Brings A New Dog Into The Robot Race, While Seeking New Owner

One of Google’s robotics companies Boston Dynamics has announced a new addition to their robotic family called the “SpotMini.”

Previous Boston Dynamics creations have impressed many while creeping them out all at the same time, for their uncanny abilities to be robust and accurately mimic movement from biological life.

The SpotMini is a smaller version of their other canine-modeled creation simply called “Spot,” with a giraffe-like neck for a better reach.

The difference between this robot compared to their other ones is that rather than using hydraulic technology, they’ve been able to scale down to electric servos, resulting in a robot that goes from 50 to 65 pounds.

“Spot” was originally introduced in February of 2015.

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The video clearly shows how the robot is able to function in a normal setting and during accidents, and even shows a better looking version at the end that doesn’t look so much like a prototype.

In October of 2015, Google reorganized their company to be run by former Google starters and to be one of many companies under the Alphabet Inc. conglomerate.

Two years before that, the company Boston Dynamics would be bought for $500 million by formerly named Google X — now known simply as X, a semi-secret division of Google — as part of a group of 14 other companies in order to conduct research (Google will be referred to as the owners for this article).

Could Toyota's purchase of Boston Dynamics make it competitive with Honda's Asimov robotics department?
While Toyota is apparently in advanced talks with Google over buying Boston Dynamics, at the turn of the century rival car manufacturer Honda developed and showcased a rumanoid walking robot, and has since held frequent presentations over the years, with upgrades as to what it could do. This is from November 18, 2008 in south China’s Guangdong province, China, where it waves to visitors on press day of the 6th Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition. Toyota was likely present there as well. [Image by China Photos/Getty Images]
Back in May, the Inquisitr reported that Google was in advanced talks with Japanese car maker Toyota, who have interest in robotics research, to sell Boston Dynamics to them.

It was also reported at one point in March that Amazon was also an interested party in obtaining the company.

In 2013 when Boston Dynamics was in a transitional period between owners, The Guardian wrote a piece about the company and what could be behind Google’s interest in robot research, which refers to the robotics company’s background in making robots for the military.

Boston Dynamics' new 'SpotMini' has an older and bigger sibling simply called 'Spot'.
United States Marines and representatives from Boston Dynamics look at Spot, a four-legged robot designed for indoor and outdoor operation, during the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge at the Fairplex June 5, 2015 in Pomona, California. Organized by DARPA, the Pentagon’s science research group, 24 teams from around the world competed for $3.5 million in prize money that was awarded to the humanoid robots that best respond to natural and man-made disasters. The new ‘SpotMini’ is a smaller version of the ‘Spot’ seen here. [Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
There is no doubt that the privatized ownership of the company would secure the research and development of Boston-Dynamics-type robots, who were — and for the most part are — considered the most advanced robotics company around.

At the time, Google said they would honor the $10.5 billion dollar contract the company had with DARPA, the U.S. Defense Department’s technology research organization.

The SpotMini demonstration clearly shows the robot’s ability to detect surrounding objects and has the ability to adjust around them.

Gizmodo provides a few more details on the robot “baby giraffe” such as the fact that its battery lasts for 90 minutes if the robot is walking around the house quietly, which is still considered unsatisfactory for the use in a home.

Functional robots today are limited by how long they can function without recharging
The NAO robot is available for purchase for the home. It can dance and walk around but isn’t 100 percent on functionality, where it can’t always get you what you want and has a limited power supply. This would be considered more of a high-end toy and is incredibly expensive. [Image by Francois Mori/AP Photo]
Regarding the technologies, robotics companies are not directly competitive, especially when Google is holding the cards, but on a larger scale their engineers and technologies are generally on an open source trend where they contribute to their development and try to gauge what other technology to add to it.

There is no information suggesting that the company is looking to put these in homes anytime soon, and while Google is in talks to sell Boston Dynamics, there is neither any indication as to what direction a new owner will want to take with the company’s achievements, whether for the home or other internal use.

[image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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