Terrible idea: Kicking a dog. Great idea: Trying to kick over a robot dog.
Boston Dynamics has a new robot to add to its collection, and this one smacks of man's best friend.
"Spot" is the Google-owned, DARPA-partnered firm's latest (public) robotic creation, and it's also the smallest four-legged, self-righting robot in BD's growing collection. Spot is powwered by electricity (battery packs), uses hydraulic actuation in its limbs to move, and, as evidenced by the above video, is pretty tough to knock over. The 160-pound Spot can also climb stairs, hills, and other mild obstacles, all while being able to outrun other Boston Dynamics robots -- including the company's LS3 creation.
Spot is heavier than most dogs -- and it walks more like a horse than the family mutt -- but it's small and agile enough to be used in most indoor situations. This means Spot can be used in a wider set of scenarios, including building search and rescue, hazardous zone navigation, and so on.
Spot joins a family of Boston Dynamics robots, the most famous of which is likely LS3, the hulking, four-legged cargo transport that's been active since 2012. There's also BigDog (essentially a larger version of Spot), and Cheetah (also known as WildCat), which can hit speeds in excess of 29 mph (when tethered).
Source: Boston Dynamics