Spot Responds To Covid-19
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 31 May 2020

Spot, Boston Dynamics first commercial robot, is finding new roles as a sheep dog in New Zealand, a park warden in Singapore and as a nursing auxiliary in Massachusetts. Good dog. 

spotsqWhen Boston Robotics started to sell its quadruped robot, Spot, it had some specific use cases in the construction industry, gas and power and public safety. Since then coronavirus came along, disrupting the normal order and Spot has proved to be more versatile.

Rocos, a cloud platform for managing robot operations is partnering with Boston Dynamics to provide remote operation of the robot allowing Spot to go where no other robot quadruped has been before - New Zealand.  

Due to labour shortages, agriculture is an industry that is keen to see how robots can help. This video shows a task we have come to expect - monitoring orchards and sending back data captured by its cameras. There's also a novel activity - sheep herding and yes we see that the sheep respond - like sheep always will - to the presence of a big dog. They don't even stop to ask - why has it turned yellow?

Perhaps it won't win any awards at sheep dog trials. But will we see a new challenge at county fairs - best algorithms for sheep management with two Spots?

Spot is also responding to the Covid-19 pandemic in unexpected ways. In Singapore, it was deployed in a park to remind people to maintain social distancing. Although the advice is given using a softly spoken female voice, the sight of a bright yellow, camera-laden mechanical quadruped is enough to make any gatherings disperse.  

CNN Philippines also reported on a how Spot is protecting medical workers in a Boston Hospital. Marc Raibert, Chairman of Boston Dynamics explains how, for testing potential Covid patients, rather than exposing doctors and nurses to risk, Spot administers the equipment for taking temperature and respiratory rate without any contact. Measuring pulse rate and oxygen saturation might also be added to Spot's duties.

drspottelepresence

 

The Spot Early Adopter Program, whereby interested parties can apply to lease a Spot robot, got underway last Fall and at the beginning of this year Boston Open sourced the Spot Software Development Kit on GitHub. According to Boston Dynamics:

The SDK enables a broad range of developers and non-traditional roboticists to communicate with the robot and develop custom applications that enable Spot to do useful tasks across a wide range of industries. From VR control to automated registration of laser-scanning, connecting Spot’s data to cloud work order services, using Edge computing to help Spot semantically understand its environment, and much more, the possibilities of integrations on Spot are many.

The Spot SDK was recently updated to Version 2 and Boston Dynamics also has a GitHub repo to share resources related to configurations of Spot for hospital applications. 

More Information

Boston Dynamics

Rocos

Spot Software SDK on GitHub

Related Articles

Spot the Quadruped

How Many Robot Dogs Do You Need To Haul A Truck?

SpotMini On Sale Soon

Spot Is Boston Dynamics' New Robot "Dog"

Introducing SpotMini - A Domestic Pet Helper

 

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 31 May 2020 )