Watching Boston Dynamics' Spot Groove to Bruno Mars Is Peak Robot Cuteness


by James Dennin

Perhaps they were taken aback by the hysterical reaction to the video of their leaping and bounding Atlas robot parkour-ing his way up stairs, but Boston Dynamics is back with a decidedly more friendly face for their boundary-pushing robots. In the above video, infinitely non-threatening Spot robot dances to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk.

While many took the promotional video of Atlas — a humanoid robot with the goal of making robots that know how to navigate spaces designed for humans — as a harbinger of the inevitable robot uprising, Spot Robot is about as cute as they come. In the video, he moves in rhythm to the music, twerks, and, particularly impressively, even seems to be able to moonwalk. Look at his little robot paws!

Unlike Atlas, robots like Spot is already getting closer to having real industrial applications. Spot can carry a payload of about 50 pounds, runs on electric, and can navigate rough terrain using a mix of LIDAR, stereo vision, and its sensors. The company recently published another video of a Spot Mini deftly navigating a construction site, offering a glimpse of the worker-bots of the future.

Speaking at the CeBIT computer expo Hannover back in the spring, Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert outlined his vision for how smaller doggo-inspired robots called the Spot Minis could be not only cute, but helpful. At the time, he said the company was already testing its robots with clients in four different industries: Construction, delivery, home assistance, and security.

Some of these industries seem like more natural fits than others. To become the delivery-men of the future, Spot Minis will have to face off with airborne competition in the form of autonomous drones. The smart money, however, may be in developing home assistance bots that can help take care of a rapidly aging population. That prediction was from the Australian roboticist Rodney Brooks, speaking at last year’s SXSW conference.

If all goes well, you could soon see Spot’s smaller, more enterprise ready cousin the Spot Mini out in the real world by the middle of next year. Raibert said at CeBIT that the plan was for Boston Dynamics to produce 1,000 Spot Minis annually by 2019.

Related Tags