That sound, that sound, as they come marching.
When it’s not frightening the world with videos of back-flipping cyborg supersoldiers, Boston Dynamics likes to have a bit of fun with their robotic creations. Presumably inspired by last month’s Iditarod, the company strapped ten of its SpotMini robots together but instead of pulling a sled, these robo-pups have enough strength to pull a massive diesel truck. Did I say fun? I meant terror-inducing.
As cutting-edge robots go, the SpotMini isn’t quite as concerning as Boston Dynamics’ humanoid ATLAS, but that’s probably because humans have learned to trust anything that looks and behaves like a dog. Except this dog can escape laboratories, fight off humans wielding hockey sticks, and now apparently team up to achieve astonishing feats of strength.
The demonstration is another example of one avenue of robotics research where simpler bot creations are designed to work together to accomplish bigger things. Typically this is done with very small robots that appear to all scurry around randomly until they complete a goal, but there’s nothing random about this army of SpotMinis. Given the fact that these robots cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, they’ll undoubtedly be first rolled out for military applications, and you can easily imagine a squadron of them descending to an impaired vehicle to help rescue it, two or three SpotMinis dragging an injured soldier back to safety, or other less assistive missions. There’s a good reason wolves hunt in packs.