Picture the perfect weekend morning. You're snuggled in bed, cuddling with your pet dog. The sun's shining through the curtains, and everything seems ideal. The only drag is that if you want your morning cup of coffee, you're going to have to get up and do it yourself. What would be really perfect, though? Having your dog make that coffee for you as you laze in bed for another round with the snooze button.
We're not quite there yet, but thanks to robotics firm Boston Dynamics, we may be on our way. Combining the best in mechanized pet and robot butler fantasies, SpotMini is a robot that moves like a dog and is programmed to be capable of performing simple household chores. Check out the video above to see it deliver a drink, place a glass into a dishwasher and deposit a soda can in a recycling bin, among other mundane — but totally fascinating in this context! — tasks. (No word, sadly, on when a market-ready version of SpotMini might hit stores.)
The Google-owned Boston Dynamics specializes in creating robots designed to be just as adaptable as people when it comes to navigating the random slings and arrows of the real world. SpotMini joins other Boston Dynamics robots inspired by canines — BigDog and LittleDog, for example — and builds on their technology. SpotMini sports an all-electric system in place of past liquid-powered pistons, making it one of the quietest robots the company has built. It uses a number of sensors including depth cameras and a solid-state gyroscope to move through the world.
But hey, if you're a little creeped out watching SpotMini creep about a room that might as well be your own, Ikea rugs and all, you're not alone. Lifelike robots tend to unsettle us due to a phenomenon known as the uncanny valley. Earlier this year Boston Dynamics' bipedal robot Atlas made headlines for its ability to ape a human amble. Watch our video below to learn more: