Advertisement

Watch Boston Dynamics' SpotMini Robot Open a Door

From Wired - February 12, 2018

You could argue that the door handle has had a disproportionate influence on modern robotics. It was the humanoids of the Darpa Robotics Challenge, after all, that were tasked with opening doors, and it was those machines that helped drive robots to where they are now.

Today Boston Dynamics posted a video of its SpotMini quadruped robot extending an arm out of its head to turn a handle. With the dexterity of a tray-carrying butler, it uses its foot to prop the door ajar, then elbows it all the way open for its (armless) SpotMini friend to walk through. At face value, it's a pretty incredible feat. But it's also an interesting twist in the quest to make robots that get along with a world built by and for humans. Maybe the Darpa Robotics Challenge had it wrong with humanoids after all, and the best robots for rescue operations will look nothing like humansor any other animal, for that matter.

At the moment, humanoids are great at two things: Looking like humans and falling on their faces, as the Robotics Challenge showed so well. (Though one particular humanoid, Cassie, does much better in part because it does not yet have an upper body to worry about yet.) Walking on two legs is a monumental challenge; thats why Chimp, a vaguely humanoid machine that rolled on treads instead of lumbering on two legs, did so well.

Bananas Bots

Advertisement

Continue reading at Wired »