WALTHAM – Boston Dynamics is a major robotics group in Waltham that spun off from MIT almost 30 years ago. Since then, it has become a premier organization for all things robots and yesterday marked two of its biggest developments to date.
As of September 24, Boston Dynamics officially began shopping Spot, its four-legged robotic dog. However, since there are only 20 Spots in existence, the market is very limited and Boston Dynamics only wants to sell it to specific organizations that could potentially harness its capabilities in a specific manner. No word on the cost per Spot yet, but according to the company, they do eventually want to manufacture one thousand Spots.
One other robot from Boston Dynamics that is certainly still in the development stage, but seems to be moving along quickly, is Atlas. Atlas is Boston Dynamics' attempt at a bipedal robot who can complete myriad motions with relative smoothness. It is still only eighty percent successful, according to the developers, but that's still eighty percent more successful than I would be.
A video, which was shared widely by Wired on Twitter and released initially by Boston Dynamics, shows the robot engaging in something resembling a gymnastics routine. Many have taken to comparing Atlas to Simone Biles, the famed U.S. Olympian who can do flips in mid-air like it is nothing.
With this video, I basically have three schools of thought. On the one hand, it is an impressive display of how far robotics have come and what people are capable of inventing now.
On the other hand, Atlas has intimidated and humiliated me because if I tried to do even one-tenth of the motions that Atlas does, then I would feel very sore and tired. And lastly, this is probably what it will look like when the robots take over the world and break into our homes. Aside from all that, though, what a cool machine!