Boston Dynamics has a few projects they are working on in robotics. Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 by MIT. In 2013, they were acquired by Google X which later became Alphabet, Inc. In 2017, Boston Dynamics was sold to SoftBank (remember Pepper?). We have previously discussed Spot also developed by Boston Dynamics.
Atlas is a 6-foot robot that is more humanoid with 2 legs. It was unveiled to the public in 2013. It has slowly been evolving. It now can do parkour (similar to military obstacle course training):
See SpotMini run! In this TedTalk by Marc Raibert of BostonDynamics gives a demo of how far robotics have come. He talks about dynamic mobility, balance, and mobile manipulation. He has a few demonstrations on video and live to show some things they have done to meet the goals of using robots.
In one demonstration, they show some examples of what might challenge the robots if faced with some obstacles keeping them from what they are trying to do. For his live demonstration he shows the different movements of SpotMini – a dog-like robot. He shows on the screen what the dog robot is seeing and how the robot plans where and how it will step.
Have you heard of Romo the robot yet? It’s a robot toy that uses your iPhone or iPod (4-5). So what does it do? It will respond to faces, play chase, roam around the house, connect with family and friends. There are guided missions, upgrades to unlock, and unlimited free play where there is a lab to try out activities. Its telepresence let’s you connect with an online Romo anywhere in the world.
It comes in 2 versions – the older pin cable for iPhone/iPod Touch 4 and lightning connector for iPhone/iPod Touch 5. The device costs $129 with free shipping. You will also need the apps available for your iPhone or iPod Touch. Learn more here.
Last week we found a couple robots from Willow Garage. Well this week we found another one. This was developed by some people who left Willow Garage to start their own company, Unbounded Robotics. They are taking orders for YOUR new robot! UBR-1 will be available Spring 2014. The cost is $35,000. It is ROS-enabled (Robot Operating System), an open-source platform that you can enhance yourself by logging in remotely and writing programs.
UBR-1 can unload a dishwasher, fetch beverages, set the table. You can plug into its computer with one of the USB 3.0 expansion ports. It has a continuous run time of 3.5 hours and idle time of 10 hours.
Are you ready for this?
~ Jody Victor