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Boston Dynamics’ latest robot can open doors for its fellow droids

ROBOT MAKERS Boston Dynamics have created a quadruped machine that can hold open doors for its fellow bots in a most adorable fashion.

Clearly putting SoftBank’s money to work after the Japanese holding company bought the bot builders from Google, Boston Dynamics’ showcased a new streamlined version of the SpotMini, a four-legged robot with an articulating arm that can manipulate objects.

A video shows one of the dog-like robots trot up to a door only to get stuck. Rather than batter its metallic nose against the obstruction, the arm-equipped SpotMini comes onto the scene and in a rather clunky but captivating process opens the door for its fellow arm-free robot to pass through.

Much like those videos on YouTube of cats opening doors for dogs, the two robots working together are pretty damn cute. This is the polar opposite of some of the other brutal looking robots Boston Dynamics has previously shown-off that look like the could be the harbingers of a mechanical apocalypse.

Of course, the video Boston Dynamics posted doesn’t really give much insight to what situations the robot could be used for or indeed the technology controlling it; there’s no word on sensor development or machine learning advancements.

But it seems like Boston Dynamics is being given the scope to keep making robots for the hell of it, as there’s no word on their commercial or consumer use. We could see them being used as packing machines in warehouses, or as security bots designed to prowl around and discourage people from getting into areas they shouldn’t be in.

However, the robot tech does look fairly impressive and paints a picture that future droids could be more active machines, rather than creepy bots like SoftBank Robotics’ humanoid Pepper robot that hangs around craving for human interaction.

Fans of the latest Black Mirror series will note that the new SpotMini looks a little like the murderous robot ‘guard dogs’ in the episode ‘Metalhead‘. So if you’re paranoid about packs of hunter-seeker bots, Boston Dynamics’ latest work may be kicking you straight in the fear glands.

And as ever, we doubt robot haters like quote-machine Steve Wozniak will be feeling all warm inside at the idea of a robot that can open doors and merrily go about its business with no direct human control. But we have faith that this latest robot isn’t going to be the precursor to the rise of the machines. µ

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