Robotics — Boston Dynamics’s industrial applications

Capable of climbing stairs and crossing rough terrain, the machine has also dazzled — and disturbed — thanks to widely publicised door-opening and collaborative abilities.

Off the leash

The Spot’s capabilities fall mainly into two categories — sensing and manipulation. Both of these could be particularly useful in the construction or energy sectors, Boston suggested. The robot could use its cameras or other sensors to remotely inspect oil and gas facilities, sharing data about plant operations. On building sites, its developers say it could help piece together digital twins and compare real-life results to Building Information Modelling files.

Extraordinary progress

The Spot’s modularity, along with its stability and adaptability, mean it could secure footholds across engineering. “I think it’s robust enough, and I think it will develop further. They are an extraordinary company, the things they develop are stunning,” said Professor Noel Sharkey, robotics expert at the University of Sheffield.

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