Arguably one of the most advanced in the business, Boston Dynamics cause a viral sensation every time they post a new video showing off their robots’ skills in running, jumping, even doing back flips. Established in 1992, they are a robotics lab who spend their time developing smart robotic solutions for a variety of fields and verticals. In 2014, they were bought out by Google and are currently their largest robotics partner.
You might have seen some of their more popular robots including ‘Atlas’ - the world’s most dynamic humanoid, ‘Spot’, a robotic dog who Black Mirror no doubt drew inspiration from, and ‘Big Dog’, a larger version of Spot that drew the attention of the American Military for its capability to carry and travel over rough terrain.
Boston Dynamics are at the forefront of the robot revolution. Their use of AI in creating systems that allow movement and detection of context are cutting edge. Their robots indicate Narrow AI, in that they focus only on being highly functioning at one specific task. For instance ‘Spot Mini’ is able to open a door in one video, using image recognition and a series of specifically programmed movements. However, Spot has no real context of what a door is and is focussed only on that task.
In a more day-to-day example of robot adoption, Amazon bought Kiva Systems in 2012 having already introduced a fleet of their robots as stock pickers throughout their warehouses. They have now augmented this process with robots selecting products and humans reviewing their selections. This has subsequently been extended with pilots for Prime Air – automated drone delivery – and Scout – robot delivery.