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Spot the Robot Dog Trots Into the Big, Bad World

Boston Dynamics’ creation is starting to sniff out its role in the workforce: as a helpful canine that still sometimes needs you to hold its paw. From a report: This autumn, after years of dropping view-amassing videos of Spot the robot dog fending off stick-wielding humans and opening doors for its pals, Boston Dynamics finally announced that the machine was hitting the market — for a select few early adopters, at least. BD’s people would be the first to tell you that they don’t fully know what the hypnotically agile robot will be best at. Things like patrolling job sites, sure. But Spot is so different than robots that have come before it that company execs are, in part, relying on customers to demonstrate how the machine might actually be useful.

After a few months on the job, Spot is beginning to show how it’ll fit in the workforce. BD’s researchers have kept close tabs on the 75 or so Spots now working at places like construction companies and mining outfits. (Oh, and one’s with MythBuster Adam Savage for the next year.) They’re seeing hints of a new kind of cooperation between humans and machines, and even machines and other machines. Starting today, you can even customize Spot to your liking — the software development kit is now publicly available on GitHub. The robot is not included, though.

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