We tell you everything you need to know about Spot, the Boston Dynamics robot dog that we have been able to see at the Mobile World Congress and that promises to be semi-autonomous, easy to control and very useful in various dangerous situations for humans.
In the video that you have just above you can see Spot. He is a very nice robot dog that gets happy when he sees you. That he jogs with excitement before you throw the roboball at him (no, seriously, this can’t be done… for now) and that he even twists his head when you take a selfie with him.
However, Spot is not only cute, it’s a useful tool for surveying dangerous or remote environments, can collect data about a space, can carry loads, and can help with different tasks semi-autonomously or completely manually.
At the Mobile World Congress we attended a demo in which an operator showed us some of the things that Spot is capable of doing and, to be honest, we were quite impressed, since this robotic dog does seem to be very useful for humans, and not like the one from Xiaomi that we have… well, some doubts.
The first thing they told us is that it is extremely easy to control and, if we have handled a video game, we will be able to control Spot easily. In fact, the controller is like a Nintendo Switch, with its action buttons in the colors of the Xbox and everything.
In it we have the controls of the dog, but also we can see everything Spot is seeing and, in addition, we can switch between its cameras.
Several things can be put on Spot’s back, such as an iPad in times of pandemic to control patients in hospitals, a camera and a speaker to herd sheep (no kidding) or an arm capable of opening doors.
The model that we saw had a series of antennas to communicate in a place as crowded as Mobile, as well as an impressive 360º camera system.
Spot already has built-in cameras along the body and, in fact, they are very useful because they can read the temperature, they have a proximity system to avoid crashing and even an HD camera with which we can enlarge the image to correctly see what is in front of us.
With the 360º camera you can better recognize the terrain, something very useful in some situations, but wow, the message is that you can put whatever you want on it. Now, if you ask me what I like most about Spot, I’ll tell you… his balance.
We saw a demo in which it went up and down stairs and ramps completely autonomouslywithout the operator doing anything, but on one side there were thick rocks and it was obvious that Spot had to balance, something he does more than well.
It is true that sometimes he wobbled a little, but he did not fall and immediately recomposed himself. The leg gears seem very strong and must weigh his own as each step was intense and made the floor of the stand shake a bit. This is important when loading heavy goods.
And at the software level, we have already told you that it can go manually or semi-autonomously, but also we can create predefined routes that Spot follows perfectly and, if it finds an obstacle on the route, it is able to go around it to continue on its way. That to transport goods in a conflict, for example, can come in handy.
The price? More than 60,000 dollars, but it is clear that this robotic dog is not a toy, although we have seen him walking on a leash in some cities. And yes, although I know that he is not a robotic friend, the truth is that his look is charming and… I want one. Let’s see if he sneaks in and they send it to us to analyze.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism