Hi! Hope you are staying safe. You can notice that the picture above shows the connection between humans and robots. Today we will find out how useful robots can be.
First of all, we need to know what Boston Dynamics is. It is an American engineering and robotics design company. Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 as a branch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, Boston Dynamics is now owned by the Hyundai Motor Group since December 2020. Boston Dynamics' achievements are best known for the development of highly-mobile robots, including Spot, Spot Arm, Stretch, PickTM, and Atlas. Indeed, the first robot, Atlas, was introduced on July 11, 2013. Below you can see pictures from the official Boston Dynamics website.
In the left corner is the robot Atlas and in the right corner the robot Spot. Interestingly, initially the Atlas was a little bit bigger and had a red color.
Let’s talk about their advantages. Starting with the Spot. It is compact and can be described as a nimble four-legged robot that is able to trot around your office, home, or outdoors. Spot has an ability to map its environment, sense and avoid obstacles, climb stairs, and open doors. It can also fetch you a drink, if you kindly ask him of course. Furthermore, if police and fire departments buy it, it will have higher value. For instance, police officers and people from other emergency services do not have to put their lives in danger. The Spot can go inside the building and check how many burglars are there or can save children (up to 14 kg) who are in the center of the flame. The price is $74,500 and has a tag ‘’war dog’’.
Now, it is Atlas turn. It can navigate rough terrain and climb independently using its arms and legs. Although, the 2013 prototype version was connected to power supply what was making it dependable on that. In the same year, the Boston Dynamics uploaded a video showing how Atlas could withstand being hit by projectiles balancing on one leg. Well, probably it also can bring you a drink but right now it looks just like a good terrain observer. Unfortunately, Atlas is still a prototype that has a research being done and there is no price for it.
Now let’s move on to the next robots. You can see the Spot Arm on the left part of the picture and Stretch on the right. Spot Arm can grasp, lift, carry, place, and drag a variety of items with the arm's 6-degrees of freedom and gripper. It also uses the in-gripper LED illuminator and 4K camera to inspect objects and equipment before taking action. There are such details as semi-autonomously turn valves and flip levers. Hence, it can open the doors, and manipulate other objects with constrained movement. It reminds a ‘’war dog’’ but has a different purpose.
And what about Stretch robot? It is a versatile mobile robot for case handling, designed for easy deployment in existing warehouses. People will use it to unload trucks and to build pallets faster by sending the robot to the work. This will eliminate the need for new fixed infrastructure we get used to. It is possible to describe it with 3 words - flexible, efficient, and smart.
Finally, there is one more robot. It is called a PickTM.
This robot is designed to work in the most challenging warehouse environments. PickTM uses high-resolution 2D and 3D vision and machine learning algorithms to locate cartons singly. Moreover, it also locates rainbow and mixed-SKU pallets in order to enable fast depalletizing. PickTM does 700 cycles per hour and is pretty accurate due to the limitless number of SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit).
To sum up, Spot, Spot Arm, Stretch, PickTM, and Atlas robots seem to be beneficial. However, as far as we know, Spot is a real treasure for emergency departments. Likewise, Spot Arm is useful for easy daily tasks and Stretch with PickTM are used in warehouses and in jobs connected with loading and unloading. Unfortunately, Atlas is just a humanoid robot observer. It can be a police robot but only as a communicator. For dangerous missions the Spot is better as it is created similarly to dog’s body and can easily pass holes in the building. Therefore, almost each of them is good at some realm because Boston Dynamics is trying to make them useful. But for now we have only accurate price for the Spot.