What's New With Spot
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Sunday, 22 May 2022

From nuclear environments to construction sites to manufacturing facilities, Boston Robotic's Spot quadruped robot is proving that agile mobile robots can have a useful role in a wide range of applications across many industries. Spot has recently had hardware upgrades, including a new tablet, and two new additions to its range of payloads.

Boston Dynamics is known for videos showcasing the range of movements its robots are capable of, see Party With Atlas, Spot & Stretch for the most recent example. So the expectation for the latest Spot video is for more dance moves. Instead we see Spot at work in an industrial environment doing the entirely serious job of monitoring site systems and reporting problems. 

If you've watched to the end, you'll be pleased to know that Spot relents and the engineer gets to have his moment in the limelight.

Another new video introduces Spot's latest new features:

There have been several improvements to the controller used both to drive Spot and to create autonomous missions. It now has an eight-inch touchscreen, as well as digital joysticks.The larger tablet offers more space on screen for mission editing, teleoperation, and data review, and provides more processing power for better visualization. At under one pound the tablet is lightweight, under one pound, and is ruggedized with drop protection and weather-proofing. It has around an eight hour battery life. An additional physical joystick attachment has been provided for use with the Spot Arm. It comes with two five-direction buttons and two bumper buttons. These additional controls ensure operators have maximum manipulation capabilities while driving the robot and operating the arm.spottablet

Spot can be customized with a wide variety of payloads, including additional cameras, sensors, laser scanners, and more. These payloads, paired with specialized software, enable Spot to collect and process the data that gives industrial teams valuable insights into what’s happening in their facilities.

Boston Dynamics has two new pieces of hardware that will enable radio communications, next-level computation and 5G connectivity.

The first is the Spot CORE I/O which is now available for pre-order. This high-efficiency computer payload enables Spot to process data in the field for tasks including computer vision-based site inspections and continuous data collection. As detailed in the video the unit uses the Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX module, which includes a 6-core ARM processor with a dedicated GPU.

With Spot CORE I/O, integrating, implementing, and operationalizing custom sensors and other payloads on the Spot platform is simple and straightforward. For developers, the payload offers flexibility with various GPIO ports and regulated power connections. For our end users, the unit itself is weather-sealed and ruggedized so it will work reliably anywhere Spot goes. . A built-in 5G modem gives support for 5G connectivity for fast processing of data and fast transfer of data insights and AT&T has become Boston Dynamics first 5G provider. Customers with AT&T’s private 5G networks will be able to teleoperate Spot immediately through this payload, and public 5G teleoperation is to be made available in the near future. 

The second new payload is the Rajant Kinetic Mesh Radio Kit which has been added to enable Spot to be deployed within an isolated network with no infrastructure required, including large indoor sites, remote or underground environments, or in areas confronted with physical obstructions or RF interference. 

All the new features make Spot a more capable robot for dull, dirty and dangerous jobs.



More Information

Doing More With Spot

Related Articles

Party With Atlas, Spot & Stretch

Spot Moves Like Mick Jagger

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 22 May 2022 )