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Boston Dynamics’s Newest Four-Legged Robot Is a Smooth Operator

November 14, 2017

What’s black and yellow, and has a face like a checkout scanner? That’d be the latest iteration of Boston Dynamics’s small, four-legged robot called SpotMini, which makes an appearance in the video above.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a robot go by the name of SpotMini. In 2016, Boston Dynamics showed off another robot that resembled this one, but it had a robot arm in lieu of a head and was rather jerky as it navigated its way around a house. This one, however, has clearly had an upgrade, with a skull full of sensors, and its movements are incredibly smooth and refined (for a robot). That’s impressive: few bots have the combination of motors and control software that enable them to move with the slinky, almost feline motion that SpotMini shows in this clip.

Little else is known about the machine, other than that Boston Dynamics says it has more on SpotMini “coming soon.” It’s unlikely that refers to a commercial launch, given the firm’s research-focused history to date—but then, maybe its recent acquisition by Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank is switching things up. Stay tuned.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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