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Spot’s latest robot dance highlights new features

Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot has hit the dance floor again in a new video that seeks to highlight recent improvements made to the quadruped contraption.

Spot, for the uninitiated, is a very versatile and incredibly smart robot that for the last few years has been available for deployment in a range of industries for tasks such as mapping, monitoring, and inspecting.

As part of ongoing promotional efforts, Boston Dynamics this week dropped a cinematically shot sequence that shows Spot working at an industrial plant, performing various jobs as it makes its way around the facility.

The story takes an unexpected turn, however, when a smitten human employee, already aware of Spot’s dancing skills, launches into an impromptu boogie with the robot dog.

Watching from afar, an employee asks her colleague if the dancing guy might actually consider getting back to work. “I hope so — Spot’s found a lot of things that need fixing,” comes the reply.

As mentioned at the top, the team at Boston Dynamics has been busy working to upgrade Spot, with the fruits of its labor unveiled this week.

Improvements include enhanced cameras that now use color imagery instead of black and white. The controller, which is used to drive the robot and also create autonomous missions, now incorporates a Samsung tablet that’s more rugged and offers better protection against harsh weather conditions.

A more powerful charging dock is also part of the package, ensuring Spot can get back to work in the space of just one hour after its battery runs low.

Anyone who has followed Spot’s development will know that Boston Dynamics offers various payloads that can be attached to the robot to make it more useful. Payloads can include components such as additional cameras, sensors, and laser scanners geared toward specific tasks. This week the company has announced two additional payloads with technology that enables next-level computation, radio communications, and 5G connectivity.

In a more in-depth video about Spot’s update, we learn that the robot is currently deployed by industries in 35 countries.

“For many innovative companies, Spot is quickly becoming an integral part of asset management strategies and long-term predictive maintenance planning,” Boston Dynamics said in a new post on its website. “From nuclear environments to construction sites to manufacturing facilities, Spot is proving that agile mobile robots can add value in a wide range of applications across many industries.”

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