Boston Dynamics robot fights back against armed man to open door and enter room

Company describes footage as 'a test of SpotMini’s ability to adjust to disturbances'

Aatif Sulleyman
Wednesday 21 February 2018 20:33
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Man wrestles with four legged robot dog at Boston Dynamics lab

Boston Dynamics’ door-opening robot dog can now fight off humans.

The company has published a new video that shows SpotMini, a small, four-legged robot, successfully open a door and walk through it, despite the efforts of a person armed with a hockey stick, who repeatedly tries to impede the robot.

He initially attempts to prevent SpotMini’s hand from reaching the door handle.

When SpotMini eventually gets a good grip of it and manages to turn the handle and pull the door open, he tries to push the door shut.

The robot, however, shows a good turn of speed to fling it open and trot towards the threshold, before the man grabs a piece of material sticking out of SpotMini’s backside and uses it to drag it backwards.

SpotMini struggles against his efforts, its arm outstretched in an attempt to hold the door open, and its legs flailing desperately in a bid to move back towards the doorway.

When the man lets SpotMini go, it steps into position again, grasps and turns the door handle, opens the door and walks through it.

Boston Dynamics describes the footage as “a test of SpotMini’s ability to adjust to disturbances” as it opens and walks through a door.

“A person (not shown) drives the robot up to the door, points the hand at the door handle, then gives the ‘GO’ command, both at the beginning of the video and again at 42 seconds,” it says.

“The robot proceeds autonomously from these points on, without help from a person.”

Like the recently released clip that shows SpotMini opening a door and holding it open to allow a robot with no arms through, it has provoked plenty of discussion from viewers online.

SpotMini, the quietest robot Boston Dynamics has built, comes equipped with stereo cameras, depth cameras and force sensors in its limbs, and can carry up to 14kg of weight.

“A camera in the hand finds the door handle, cameras on the body determine if the door is open or closed and navigate through the doorway,” says Boston Dynamics, which also offers its assurances that the test did not “irritate or harm” SpotMini.

“Software provides locomotion, balance and adjusts behaviour when progress gets off track. The ability to tolerate and respond automatically to disturbances like these improves successful operation of the robot.”

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