Boston Dynamics put the power of collaborative problem solving on display in a new video today. The 45 second video shows two SpotMini robots working together to achieve a common goal: opening an office door.
SpotMini is an 11 kilogram (25 pound) four-legged robot capable of picking up and handling objects using its 5 degree-of-freedom arm and perception sensors.
In the video, the first SpotMini approaches the door and appears to scan it before calling in reinforcements. As the second robot comes into view, the first retreats and watches as his “armed” counterpart moves into position, scans the door, and then proceeds to open it with a mechanical arm.
As with all Boston Dynamics video, this is both terrifying and fascinating, a little like the scene in Jurassic Park where the velociraptors figure out how to open doors.
But cooperative robot teams could prove handy in a number of real world scenarios, such as search and rescue missions after natural disasters. The ability to keep weight and size down by utilizing a scout-type robot with advanced optics and pairing it with specific use-case partners for drilling through debris, lifting rubble out of the way, or shuttling food and water to victims could keep rescue workers out of danger in the immediate aftermath of, say, an earthquake.
For now though, it’s important to understand that it’s their world, and we’re just living in it. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.